District Collector M. Ravichandra on Wednesday assured agitating villagers of Katheru that the administration would allocate additional water to the Andhra Pradesh Paper Mill from the Godavari so that water supply to the village – where the pipelines of the mill were located – would not be affected.

A public hearing was held in the presence of the Collector and other officials on the proposal of the mill to increase its pulp production by 150 tonnes at an additional investment of Rs.19 crores.

The Collector said steps would be taken to check pollution and jobs provided to local youth as per eligibility.

APPM Director PK Soori said they had controlled pollution to the maximum extent possible with latest technology.

However, the arguments, involving advocate Madduri Siva Subba Rao, environmentalist T. Patanjali Sastry, and Gangina Narayana Rao with the Collector, were not confined to pollution but touched release of municipal waste into the Godavari. Rajahmundry rural MLA Chandana Ramesh, former MPTC of Katheru Vemula Rambabu and Nalam Venkateswara Rao raised the issue of the Katheru water.

S. Sivarama Subrahmanyam, Chairman, APIIC, who attended the meeting, said he wanted documentation of the proceedings.

B. Joseph Raj, and BB Naidu, union leaders, said the mill should not be closed at any cost as it is giving employment to hundreds of people and steps should be taken to solve problems like pollution and other issues. Executive Engineer of AP Pollution Control Board Pramod Kumar Reddy, RDO M. Venugopala Reddy, and MRO S. Malli Babu participated.