Stirs for and against reopening of the Agrichem unit gather momentum
Bowing to the pressure from local people, the district administration on Saturday announced that Nagarjuna Agrichem Private Limited would be allowed to resume its operations only after eliciting the views of villagers residing in and around the factory.
After a series of events, including a four-hour long agitation by the locals and boycott of talks, Additional Joint Collector R.S. Rajakumar assured the agitators and people’s representatives that the government would give its nod for reopening of the factory only after listening to the grievances of the villagers.
Meanwhile, tension prevailed at the Collectorate in the morning when the talks were held between the management and select representatives of the NACL Vyatireka Porata Committee by Mr. Rajakumar. Factory managing director V. Vijaya Shankar, vice-president (Operations) K.G. Vadivelu and other officials represented the management. The government invited 11 local leaders, including Porata Committee chairman Muralidhar Baba, representatives G. Ramulu, Swami Srinivasananda and others. But the local representatives boycotted the talks saying that villagers of Arinam Akkivalasa, Keshavadasupuram, Allinagaram, Chilakpalem and other places were insisting for the official survey over the impact of pollution on agriculture and health of the people. The villagers continued their agitation at the Collectorate insisting that Additional Joint Collector should listen their argument.
Meanwhile, Mr. Rajakumar continued the talks with the officials of the Pollution Control Board, the Fire Department and executives of the NACL. The factory management told him that they had already invested Rs.50 crore for the installation of advanced green technology. NACL Employees Association leaders P.S.V.N. Varma and P. Parvatikumar urged the government to allow the company operations since 2,000 workers had lost their livelihood after the closure of the factory from June 30. They staged another protest within the Collectorate premises for the immediate reopening of the factory.
NACL Vyatireka Porata Committee members, who boycotted the talks earlier forcibly tried to enter the conference hall at around 1.30 pm and alleged that government colluded with the management of the NACL. After prolonged discussions, Mr. Rajakumar assured the villagers that the government would collect the opinion of local people before taking a final decision over the reopening of the factory.
The officials are likely to visit the selected villages very soon. Heavy security was deployed at the Collectorate to avoid untoward incident. More security will be provided to the NACL factory also in the backdrop of tension in the surrounding villages.