Andhra: Villagers to go on hunger strike against aqua food park

The villagers said that they do not want industries amid their fields, where they grow crops including paddy and maize.

Written by Sreenivas Janyala | Tunduru(andhra Pradesh) | Published:April 21, 2017 6:12 am
andhra, andhra villagers protest, andhra villager hunger strike, andhra aqua park, india news, indian express, latest news Villagers say they do not want industries amid their fields. (Source: Express Photo)

Over 5,000 people from three villages in Andhra Pradesh’s West Godavari district will begin a relay hunger strike on Friday against an aqua food park, which they say will destroy a fragile eco-system and ruin water bodies. The Andhra Pradesh government has nominated Godavari Mega Aqua Food Park Limited’s owner and Ananda Group Companies’ chairman, UKV Raju, for a task force on Vision-2020 from fisheries. It is keen on promoting mega food parks to attract investments and generate employment.

The villagers said that they do not want industries amid their fields, where they grow crops including paddy and maize. The food park is coming up over 100 acres in Tunduru, Jonnalagaruv and Kamsalibethapudi. “It is very fertile land. Any industry coming up here will draw excessive ground water, cause pollution and release waste which will spoil the groundwater table and lakes and ponds here,’’ said Y Arun Kumar, a farmer. “We do not want this food park. We do not want the jobs they may offer.’’ Another farmer, Y Srinivasulu, said that pollution was their main worry. “Shrimp farms are known to ruin fertile lands around them. This Godavari delta has fragile eco-systems which can be easily destroyed by any industry.’’

R Vasu, a farmer, accused the government of misleading the villagers. “An NRI, who owned 30 acres, sold his land to Ananda Group in 2010. After the government gave permission to them to set up the food park, they slowly acquired another 70 acres from small farmers and have started construction without holding talks with the villagers opposed to it.’’ He said that they will continue the fast until the government cancels the licence.

The Ananda Group is setting up a 16,000-tonne capacity fish and prawn processing unit as a joint venture with the Union food processing industries ministry, which had sanctioned it in 2014 to promote organic shrimp farming and create 2,000 jobs. Residents of 23 other villages have also joined the protest.

“The Gontheru Canal, which is the lifeline of this area, would be polluted… The canal sustains over 30,000 fishermen,’’ said Democratic Youth Federation of India’s Y Trimurtulu, who is leading the agitation. “There are several lakes in Narsapuram, Bhima-varam and Mogalturu mandals. All these would be polluted by the food processing.’’ Trimurtulu said that the Ananda Group has another unit in Mogalturu, where villagers allege that untreated waste is often released into canals and water bodies. “Five youth, who were cleaning a chemical tank there, died last month due to negligence of the company. How can we allow such a company to set up another unit here?’’

Ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MLA Bandaru Madhava Naidu had initially supported the villagers. But he changed his tune after Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said that the food park would create job opportunities and would not cause pollution. Another TDP MLA, P Ramanjaneyulu, who backed the villagers initially, backed out.

Ananda chairman Raju accused “some local leaders of instigating the villagers”. “We will follow all environmental laws and norms strictly.’’ He said that they will provide facilities like cold storage that fishermen and shrimp farmers can use. “If the villagers are willing to sit and talk to clarify any doubts they have, we are willing to do so,’’ Raju said.

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  1. S
    SEKHAR B
    Apr 21, 2017 at 12:11 pm
    The Park should follow all standard procedure for waste disposal and effluent water treatment -then only it should be allowed-but in india there are industries with ETP that operates in the day only when PCB officials are around but closes after 7PM and restarts at next day 7 am only-who is to enforce compliance of round the clock discharge and effluent monitoring.
    Reply
    1. M
      Manas Sarkar
      Apr 21, 2017 at 9:30 am
      This is politically motivated. Let them b hungry few day, will say yes..
      Reply
      1. S
        sunil
        Apr 21, 2017 at 9:15 am
        When Congress govt approved Aqua food park villagers did resisted not they cry foul on naidu.
        Reply
        1. M
          Mahender.Goriganti
          Apr 21, 2017 at 8:59 am
          Anti-national villagers. Shoot them all. These people don't want development but want everything free.
          Reply
          1. V
            Vasudevan Venugopal
            Apr 21, 2017 at 10:33 am
            @Mahender.Goriganti: You must be a Velama. Godavai Districts are Kapu land. Perhaps you want to "shoot" them because you will not be affected. From Tamil Nadu coast to Nellore in South coastal Andhra to Bhimavaram in West coastal Andhra Fish (Ganges Seeds like Rohu, Katla and Mirgal mixed with Chinese s) and Prawn (Scampi as well as salt water varieties) farming have been giving mixed results like fattening some fish farmers pockets and starving the agricultural laborers besides being the cause of environmental degradation like damage to wild prawn hatchlings and mangroves. Agricultural lands have been converted into fish/prawn farms by deepening, preparing them with the Mahua cake powder, flooding them at considerable cost and then draining once the excess fish feed settles down to decay. Quite some damage has already been done to the ecosystem and the groundwater table at the cost of increased industrial employment to locals.
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            1. V
              Vasudevan Venugopal
              Apr 21, 2017 at 10:36 am
              It should read "Chinese C.r.a.p.s", a variety of fish.
          2. R
            rajan
            Apr 21, 2017 at 8:32 am
            History keeps on repeating itself in one form or the other. Alas, there are no more MKGs to take up the cause of the farmers. He positioned himself in Champaran, Bettiah & Motihari to resist Indigo planters for their exploitative mani tions & successfully stopped them with a more reasonable foreign government. Today we have Indians at the helm both in the state as well as at the centre yet nothing is likely to come off the agitation by the hapless farmers. Modi repeatedly boasts of his leaning towards the farmers yet neither he nor CBN will take care of them. A bunch of thick skins who are neither concerned about environment nor about the poor. Still we continue to vote for them to our own detriment. Both the governments are working for the elite& social upliftment is none of their concerns
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            1. R
              Rahul
              Apr 21, 2017 at 9:37 am
              MKG is not there, but your lord and master RG is there, right...go appeal to him if he is around and not gone secretly to some holiday destination...ha ha
              Reply
            2. A
              anitha
              Apr 21, 2017 at 7:36 am
              {Ananda chairman Raju said that they will provide facilities like cold storage that fishermen and shrimp farmers can use} COLD STORAGES DESTROY THE OZONE LAYER & DEVASTATES OUR ECOLOGY. SHRIMP FARMS WILL DESTROY SOIL FERTILITY & CONTAMINATE GROUND WATER AP, TELENGANA CMs WILL IMPOVERISH THE FARMERS TO EARN HUGE KICKBACKS FROM UNSCRUPULOUS CORPORATES
              Reply
              1. R
                Romik
                Apr 21, 2017 at 7:32 am
                Make Andhra Organic! You can charge more for the same product! More profit and more jobs.
                Reply
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                  TECHNICAL
                  Apr 21, 2017 at 7:29 am
                  Dismiss Chandrababu Naidu Government & ins ute a CBI enquiry on his dealings with Godavari Mega Aqua Food Park Limited and Ananda Group Companies. Chandrababu Naidu is more corrupt than other regional party chieftains like Netaji, Behenji, Sharad Pawar, Didi.
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                  1. S
                    sunil
                    Apr 21, 2017 at 9:16 am
                    Aqua park is approved by congress in 2010.
                    Reply
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