Staff Reporter

Birds or people, you choose, whom do you (Government) want, an aged Mallavole Satyavati of Gudivakalanka vents her ire

Central team holds public interaction at GudivakalankaThreaten to commit suicide if the G.O. is enforced Prattikollalanka sarpanch ridicules eco concerns

ELURU: The visiting three-member Central Empowered Committee (CEC) on Kolleru deputed by the Supreme Court was greeted by threats of suicide by inhabitants of Kolleru in case of their displacement in the process of enforcing G.O. No. 120 during its public interaction at Gudivakalanka.

Even as CEC Chairperson P.V. Jayakrishnan was assuring people in the lake that their interest would be taken care of by the Government while developing it as a wildlife sanctuary, some persons from the crowd sounded a threat that they would commit suicide if the G.O. was enforced. Mr. Jayakrishnan assured them that the Government would not ride roughshod over the issue.

What ever the Government wanted to do for the revival of the lake would be done only in consultation with the local communities, he added. Mahalakshmi Raju, sarpanch of Prattikollalanka, sought to describe the legal battle put up by environmentalists for restoration of the past glory of Kolleru as a `fantasy.' Development of the lake into a wildlife sanctuary by displacing a large number of inhabitants was practically not possible and the expenditure being incurred by the Government in this direction would be a drain on the public exchequer, Mr. Raju said. When district Collector Lav Agarwal, in his briefing to the visiting CEC, said proposals for provision of alternative sources of livelihood to the vulnerable fishermen also formed part of the Government's plans for development of the lake, Mr. Raju said: "For the local communities who are used to be fending for themselves by fish farming in the lake for several decades, alternative sources of livelihood is not feasible." "Birds or people, you choose, whom do you (Government) want,'' shouted an aged woman Mallavole Satyavati of Gudivakalanka. The committee interacted with a group of environmentalists who moved the court on destruction of the lake, farmer representatives and officials here before it set out for the field visit. The committee will available itself to the public for interaction on Sunday also.