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Sparks fly at grama sabha on thermal plant

Staff Reporter
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Villagers register protest by damaging earthmoving equipment and uprooting boundary pillar

Public outcry:Agitators set fire to diesel drums in Dontamuru village on Friday after the grama sabha.–PHOTO: S. RAMBABU
Public outcry:Agitators set fire to diesel drums in Dontamuru village on Friday after the grama sabha.–PHOTO: S. RAMBABU

The grama sabha, which was conducted here on Friday strongly opposed the setting up of a 100 MW Thermal Plant by KPR Industries (India) Limited between Balabhadrampuram in Bikkavolu mandal and Dontamuru in Rangampeta mandal.

Violence broke out after the grama sabha with a section of villagers setting afire diesel drums and damaging earthmoving equipment adjacent to the plant site. The protesters also uprooted boundary pillars. Activists of Left parties pitched party flags on the site.

On February 4, the villagers had requested mandal Special Officer Mohan Rao to conduct the grama sabha to which he agreed.

The grama sabha was attended by about 3,000 villagers. Pitchuka Ramanaiah, a villager, said their apprehensions about air pollution and groundwater depletion were not addressed properly by the management. Moreover, a majority of villagers could not understand the information given by the management as it was in English. K. Ramanamma, another villager, accused the management of highhandedness. She alleged that the management failed to give proper information on treatment of pollutants and threatened to book cases on them. To the utter shock of the Special Officer, his appeal to villagers to raise their hands in support of the plant was greeted with slogan-shouting against the plant management. On the other hand, there was overwhelming response to the signature campaign against the plant.

Former ZPTC, Padala Rama Reddy who is spearheading the movement, was present. CPI state secretary K. Narayana asked the villagers to chase away the officials or the management of the plant as was done at Kakarapalli and Sompeta.

“If some one wants to take up any construction here, cut off their hands. The CPI is with you. Lathis or bullets cannot stop us,” he thundered. The CPI would launch a massive agitation with the support of the locals, he added.

Actor and TDP leader M. Murali Mohan who visited the village in the evening, supported the villagers’ stand. The TDP was not against industrialisation or setting up of power plants, but the industrialists should adhere to the norms laid down by the Pollution Control Board and convince the people on their plan of action to tackle the pollution, he added.

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