KAKINADA: The villagers of Konaseema area, during a public hearing organised by the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) at Kottapakala village in Tondangi mandal of East Godavari district on Wednesday, expressed fear over pollution to be caused by the proposed bulk drug unit coming up in the village. As a precautionary measure, the district administration deployed several police personnel at the venue.
“We fear that our health would be in grave danger if the proposed bulk drug unit is established in the Konaseema area, as it would pollute both the sea water and the air, thereby depriving us of our livelihood. The government should think twice before according permission for the unit,” opined several women from the Konaseema villages.
The bulk drug unit is being established by Divis Laboratory Limited near Kottapakala village in 505 acres, from the land earmarked for the KSEZ. While the Divis Lab paid compensation amount to the oustees for 345 acres, the farmers in the remaining 160 acres are opposing land acquisition.
District collector H Arun Kumar along with AP PCB environment engineer D Ravindra Babu, Peddapuram RDO Visweswara Rao, APIIC ZM NageswarRao and DIVIS vice-president Madhu Babu attended the public hearing. The Tondangi police arranged tight security at the venue and also reportedly detained many farmers and KSEZ Lands Protection Movement JAC leaders on Tuesday night itself, as a precautionary measure.
However, hundreds of villagers, particularly women from Srungavrukshampeta, Tatiyaakulapalem, Pampaadi peta and Kothapaakalu villages attended the public hearing and boldly expressed their unwillingness to give up their lands for the pharma unit.
While some inquired about extra compensation, water supply, environment protection and employment opportunities for locals, few questioned the nature of the industry and ill-effects of the effluents on environment and their health. Meanwhile, some of them expressed their willingness to give away their lands if provided jobs in the firm.
The company representatives clarified the doubts of the villagers and explained their plans to develop the area under corporate social responsibility. They also promised to maintain 33 per cent green belt, as per norms. Later, the collector stated that the minutes of the meeting will be sent to the Union government and it will take a decision on establishing the unit after studying the same.