A delegation of ‘APHRF’ visits ‘affected’ villages

At least two fishermen habitations of Chinnaminavani Lanka and Biyyaputippa under Narsapur mandal of West Godavari district are feeling the pinch of the ‘indiscriminate’ drilling operations undertaken by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and the other private entities for exploration of oil and gas in the Krishna-Godavari basin, according to Andhra Pradesh Human Rights Forum (APHRF).

A delegation from the APHRF, lead by its general secretary V.S. Krishna and Gangula Krishna Rao, a retired Professor in Geology, visited several ‘affected’ villages under the Narsapur mandal on a fact-finding mission on Friday. The creeks, breeding range of fish, were getting badly disturbed, leading to a fall in the catch. The trend kept showing an adverse impact on the fishermen’s traditional habitat. Besides, the offshore drilling operations also contributed to a substantial drop in the marine catch, Mr. Krishna said while calling for a halt to the operations in the basin.

In a bid to drive his point home, he quoted the fishermen from Bhiravapalem in East Godavari district as having told the HRF delegation during a recent visit that their income levels fell drastically because of the drop in the marine catch.

Prof. Krishna Rao observed that the Nalli creek was found to have reached almost the sea level near Narsapur. Chinaminavani Lanka with 300 habitations had virtually gone under with the sea surging ahead for a distance of more than two km over a period of 10 years.

Similarly, the adjoining Biyyaputa with 500 habitations was relocated at a ‘safer’ place, all because of the operations at a drilling site near L.B. Charla, Prof. Krishna explained.

Mr. Krishna said the entire delta was facing the problem of ‘water scarcity’ because of salinity of the water sources with ingression of sea water as a result of land subsidence, he said. Stating that even the expert group of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has not ruled out the possibility of land subsidence in the K-G basin in view of the drilling operations,

Mr. Krishna said it was high time to halt the operations until a detailed study to be conducted by the government on the impact of the drilling activity on the delta as a whole.