VILLUPURAM: At least 20 persons sustained injuries when the police resorted to lathicharge on Tuesday to chase away residents of Kottakuppam who squatted on the East Coast Road in protest against frequent power cuts.
In the resulting melee, the irate crowd pelted stones at police personnel injuring woman Sub-Inspector Amularasi and Constables Kanagaraj and Sakthivel of the striking force. Some persons also damaged the windscreen of at least 10 buses plying on the route.
Police arrested 20 persons in this connection, invoking the provisions of the Public Property Damage (Prevention) Act.
According to sources, Kottakuppam residents have been complaining of frequent power cuts, which affected normal life. Farmers could not draw water for irrigation and households found it tough to draw drinking water from borewells. Students could not study during nights and traders were also affected. Small units suffered badly as the unannounced power cuts hit the production and affected quality of the products.
Repeated representations to the authorities had not yielded results, the residents said. On Tuesday, they marched to the sub-station to urge the authorities to ensure regular power supply. They blocked traffic when they could not get proper response.
The Kottakuppam police tried to persuade the protestors to disperse but in vain.