Andhra Pradesh

Multi-industry zone in fertile Beela region opposed

Don’t disturb wetlands in Sompeta, Left parties and rights bodies urge govt.

When many mandals in Srikakulam district are hit by drought, lands in Sompeta, Baruva and surrounding places are lush with greenery, thanks to abundant groundwater in the Beela region.

One can see well-developed paddy fields which have water for both drinking and agriculture purposes. The farmers and other residents of the region have been striving hard to protect the land from industrial activity.

The locals, who successfully stopped the construction of a thermal power plant, are now opposing even the establishment of multi-product industries.

Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India (CPI), Paryavarana Parirakshana Sangham (PPS) and Human Rights Forum (HRF) have demanded that the government should not disturb the wetlands since Sompeta people did not have any other water sources.

According to a report submitted to the Union government by the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, wetlands are important for humans, birds and animals.

Ecological importance

Naupada, Sompeta, Itchapuram and Pondi are large wetland complexes, and they are ecologically and economically important as they store huge quantity of water, thanks to streams and channels and connectivity to the sea through a creek.

Incidentally, the Sompeta beela, which spreads across 2,000 acres, is habitat for more than 121 bird spices and 493 plant spices.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources has kept several birds in the red list, too.

More than one lakh people from several villages depend on wetlands for irrigation and drinking water. The wetlands protect thousands of spot-billed pelicans and painted storks of Telineelapuram. “We all know the industries would create jobs but those units should not be proposed in wetlands. It leads to disturb agriculture activity and drinking water needs. The government should withdraw its proposal to establish multi-industry zone,” said Ch. Sundarlal, CPI senior leader.

Lok Satta vice president P. Rambabu said greenery in the Beela region indicated its ecological importance. “We should not forget that three people had already sacrificed their lives while opposing thermal power plant in July 2010.

The opposition will be strong if government does not withdraw its proposal to promote private industries at the cost of people’s lives,” he added.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 3:50:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/Multi-industry-zone-in-fertile-Beela-region-opposed/article14594831.ece

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