Hyderabad: A Lok Satta Party fact-finding committee has concluded that the Andhra Pradesh Government permitted establishment of a thermal power station at Kakarapalli in Srikakulam district in violation of all laws, rules, and regulations.
The committee comprising Lok Satta Party’s Vice President Bhisetty Babji, Secretary Prof. D. Vishnu Murthy, and Srikakulam district unit President K. Poli Naidu submitted its report to party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan. The party constituted the committee in the wake of the police firing on people protesting against the project at Kakarapalli on February 28, 2011.
The report recalled that the State Departments of Forests and Fisheries had objected to East Coast Energy’s thermal power project in 2007 itself, as it would harm the environment. Two expert committees, which visited the site in July 2010 following an agitation, too confirmed the environmental hazards of the project.
The mandal revenue officer termed the land as proamboke and unfit for agriculture or any other remunerative activity, concealing the fact that fishermen had been earning their livelihood by fishing in the wetland since 1978.
The committee underlined the fact that East Coast Energy went ahead with construction although it is yet to get Coastal Regulatory Zone clearance, a case was pending in the National Environmental Appellate Authority, and it is yet to fulfill the conditions stipulated by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests in its tentative permission. The committee pointed out that nearly 30,000 acres of fertile land in the area would be vulnerable to inundation if the wetland, now serving as an outlet to heavy rainfall in the area, were to disappear in the name of the power project. It would also endanger the bird sanctuary at Telineelapuram, just 10 km away from the project site.
The report found the police guilty of a number of unwarranted actions. They clamped prohibitory orders under Section 144 on February 24 itself, dismantled the camp of the protesters, resorted to arrests, confined people to their homes, and set fire to houses. It finally led to the firing. Although the police claimed to have used rubber bullets, post-mortem reports referred to the use of regular bullets.
The committee wanted the Government to review all the six thermal power projects proposed to be set up in Srikakulam district. While permitting projects, the Government should ensure that the interests of both environment and people to be displaced are taken care of.(NSS)