Farmers Seeking To Protect Kakarapalli Wetland Shot At By Police: 2 Killed

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) strongly condemns Monday’s firing by police at Akasalakkavaram and surrounding areas in Santhabommali mandal of Srikakulam district. Two people have reportedly died in the firing and several others injured, at least one of them seriously. Many dwellings in the village of Vaddithandra, consisting mostly of fisherfolk who do exclusively inland fishing in the Kakarapalli wetland have been torched. The HRF holds the State government and the East Coast Energy Pvt Ltd (ECEPL) squarely responsible for the present situation.

The State government has abused all notions of justice, fair-play and restraint. Over the past three days, the entire area was physically cordoned off by the police and even humanitarian aid in the form of medicines for those injured in the February 25 assault by the police, as well as essential commodities, were not allowed in.

The State government has brazenly sought to facilitate a private project proponent using all manner of dubious methods. The ECEPL has, on its part consistently treated the Environment (Protection) Act 1986 and various other rules and regulations with contempt and indulged in a number of statutory violations.  The State government has not bothered to comply with a recent Supreme Court verdict that prohibits diversion of ‘village commons’ for industrial and other purposes. Time and again over the last three years, human rights organisations, environmentalists, political parties and concerned citizens have pointed out the undesirability of constructing a thermal power plant in the wetland at Kakarapalli. We had also pointed out in a detailed manner the way in which the ECEPL was flouting norms, but to no avail.

We recall a similar situation in Sompeta where in police firing on July 14 last year three persons died. In subsequent developments, all the arguments put out by us against the thermal plant there stood vindicated. No such industry must be set up without the express consent of the local people. In both Sompeta and Kakarapalli, villagers across the spectrum have opposed these plants.

It is a shame that the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) is according clearances to projects that annihilate precious wetlands which are of significant ecological value. Officials in the State government, including the Srikakulam District Collector have indulged in criminal collusion with project proponents. They have to be held accountable for their misdeeds.

The HRF demands that the huge police force in the Kakarapalli wetland area be withdrawn immediately. All clearances given to the ECEPL must be revoked and steps taken to protect and conserve this valuable wetland and the Naupada swamps from any further degeneration.

VS Krishna
(HRF State general secretary)

S Jeevan Kumar
(HRF State president)


Related Posts

Scroll to Top