ONGOLE: The Human Rights Forum (HRF) Andhra Pradesh state committee has criticised the AP Pollution Control Board (APPCB) for conducting a series of public hearings in Srikakulam and Prakasam districts to sanction permissions for various industrial projects in the present curfew restrictions, causing difficulties to the public in attending the meetings to convey their objections or grievances regarding the establishment of the industrial projects.
HRF State President UG Srinivasulu and general secretary K Sudha, in a statement, alleged that the APPCB was conducting a series of public hearings to issue permissions to various industrial projects in Srikakulam and Prakasam districts significant increase in the number of Covid cases. Even though the partial curfew restrictions were in force across the state, the PCB authorities are conducting meetings, violating norms and causing severe threat to the public lives.
“The PCB has conducted public hearing in Lingalavalasa village in Tekkali mandal of Srikakulam district on May 12 and two meetings in Ballikurava village of Prakasam district on May 20, violating the curfew norms. Further, the PCB is also going to conduct six public hearings in Prakasam and Nellore districts up to June 26, which may cause serious threat to the public health,” the HRF leaders alleged.
The HRF leaders demanded that the PCB officials postpone the public hearings in view of the prevaling Covid-19 pandemic situation. “The PCB officials are saying that they are following the Union Ministry of Environment guidelines issued in September 2020 stating public hearings can be allowed with a permitted capacity of 100 persons.