Staff Reporter

Workers and crew of Dredge International abstain from work, avoiding any confrontation

Police present at various places right from Gantyada to prevent entry of outsidersPolitical leaders and mediapersons allowed on revealing their identityGPL in favour of developing the local area, says management representative

VISAKHAPATNAM: Agitating fishermen scored a moral victory on Saturday by stopping the construction work on the Rs. 2,000-crore Gangavaram port.

Despite the presence of 1,000-strong policemen, fishermen numbering some 200 under the aegis of Gangavaram Matsyakarula Aikya Vedika and All-Party Forum went to the project site and requested Bh. A. Rama Raju, assistant vice-president of Gangavaram Port Limited (GPL), to instruct his men to stop work.

On being told that they (GPL) did not want to pick up a confrontation with local villagers and he was not competent to ask the contractors to stop work, the fishermen and representatives of various parties, including Pendurthy MLA Tippala Gurumurthy Reddy, requested the workers and crew of Dredge International of Belgium to stop work.

Voluntary compliance

On their request, all of them, including crew from Belgium, Spain and Sri Lanka, abstained, thereby preventing a law and order problem. Assistant Commissioners of Police Venkat Rao and Y. Prem Kumar, half-a-dozen Circle Inspectors and several men of armed reserve police were posted at various places right from Gantyada to prevent entry of outsiders. However, political leaders and mediapersons were allowed on revealing their identity. Mild tension erupted when Mr. Gurumurthy Reddy addressed the protesters along with Opposition leaders Ch. Narsinga Rao, Subba Rao, Rajendra Prasad (CPI-M), Manam Anjaneyulu, J.V. Satyanarayana Murthy, Stalin (CPI), L. Koteswara Rao and Kona Tata Rao and Nakka Venkataramana (BJP).

Mr. Narsinga Rao intervened when the MLA asked the villagers not to precipitate the situation and respond positively to the efforts made by the Government to resolve the impasse over the private port. TDP men also confronted the MLA when he tried to blame the erstwhile Government for the present crisis.