Srikakulam: The battle is not yet over for locals in Srikakulam opposing a thermal power plant in Sompeta.
Even as the locals are demanding action against those who submitted reports that have been declared a gross misrepresentation of facts by the National Environment Authority, the company is reportedly planning to appeal against the order. And the environment ministry has asked for yet another independent report.
The lush wetland in Sompeta turning into a battlefield, shot Srikakulam into national focus last week. Two villagers died in police firing when protesters tried to stop Nagarjuna Construction Company from fencing the land on which a 1320 MW thermal power plant was to come up. The government says there is no need for a judicial inquiry.
Vatti Vasant Kumar, Minister In-charge of Srikakulam said "They have categorically said that they were only putting a fence to the private lands duly purchased by them. But this was grossly misunderstood by the general public, they are claiming. They have given a written declaration, so we will have to believe their version.''
The locals say their stand has been vindicated with the National Environment Appellate Authority cancelling environment clearance to the project, saying there was misrepresentation of facts. They believe that, it was indeed a wetland and the minutes of the public hearing had not reflected that 95 per cent of the locals opposed the project.
Locals of Srikakulam opposed the move openly and said that "This is not a wasteland. This has a wetland of over 1500 acres that has water 365 days of the year. Whoever has filed the wrong reports should be made answerable and punished."
But the battle is far from over. Nagarjuna Construction company reportedly plans to appeal against the order. Also, there is no midway in sight. If the thermal power project is allowed to come up here, with it will be gone 1000 acres of Beela wetland, livelihood of three lakh people and rich biodiversity that this supports.