MACHILIPATNAM: Farmers and villagers blocked National Highway 214 A and Machilipatnam–Avanigadda road with the support of opposition parties here today, to protest against land acquisition for the Machilipatnam Deep Water Port and industrial corridor.
Demanding immediate withdrawal of the land acquisition notification, protesting farmers said they are not against port development, for land had already been acquired, adding that they oppose the government's bid to acquire more land in the name of developing ancilliary industries.
A large number of farmers and fishermen from Kona, Gundupalem, Rudravaram, Pallitummalapalem and Polatitippa villages, where land acquisition is to be taken up, blocked vehicular traffic stating they will not give up their lands.
Addressing their gathering, former MLA P Venkataramaiah blamed the Andhra Pradesh state government for issuing the land acquisition notification at midnight on August 31, merely a day before central government's land acquisition ordinance lapsed.
He said that this was deliberately done in order to avoid a social impact assessment of the project.
Protesters from Machilipatnam, led by former MLA Perni Venkataramiah and CPM leaders blocked vehicular movement on the highway and turned their ire against policemen after the cops tried to stop the agitation by taking YSR Congress and CPM leaders into custody.
Protestors roughed up the special police personnel and chased them away after which the police resorted to a cane charge and brought the situation under control.
Twenty leaders including former MLA Perni Venkataramaiah, YSR Congress leaders and CPM leaders were put under preventive arrest and taken Inakudurupet police station.
Later, they were released on bail, a police official said.