Special Correspondent

Narayana travels by boat in sea from Chirala to Chinnaganjam

Ready to lay down life for cause of poor, he says

ONGOLE: Amid high drama, Andhra Pradesh CPI secretary K. Narayana foiled all attempts of the police to arrest him and reached Chinnaganjam village in Prakasam district on Wednesday to demand the Government cancellation of the lease of 560 acres given to a salt company and distribute the land among the local poor.

To escape from the police dragnet, Mr. Narayana had to travel by boat in the sea from Chirala to Chinnaganjam. When he reached Chinnaganjam, about 1,000 women literally took charge of him and threw a human cordon around him to keep the police at least 20-30 feet away from him. They took him through the dry prawn ponds and empty salt farms and marched over 10 km to reach the martyrs pylon in a circuitous route giving tough moments to the police all the way.

In a choked voice, Mr. Narayana expressed willingness to lay down his life for the cause of the poor in Chinnaganjam. He said that salt production would pollute drinking water sources in 11 surrounding villages. While the poor cannot collect their firewood, cattle would lose their grazing lands. The Government must cancel the lease and distribute the land among the poor to enable them raise crops using water from Krishna Western delta, he said.

Salt production

It was the TDP Government that leased out the land to Snow White company for salt production in 1999. When people agitated against the lease, the police opened fire killing two persons in Chinnaganjam in 2000. Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, who was then the CLP leader, visited the village and promised to cancel the lease if the Congress-I was elected to power. But the company could get the lease renewed now causing resentment among local people.