Andhra Pradesh: Mafia creates hurdles for aqua food park

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Villagers allege effluents discharged by park will pollute water bodies..

Rajahmundry: Work on the Godavari Mega Aqua Food Park coming up at a cost of Rs 120 crore in about 55 acres land is delayed by about two years. A section of local fishermen and villagers are obstructing the work by carrying out a misinformation campaign that its effluents will pollute water bodies at Tundurru village of Bhimavaram mandal in West Godavari.

The Centre has sanctioned 17 mega food parks with an expected investment of about Rs 6,000 crore in several states in 2015. It has sanctioned permission to Ananda Group to execute Godavari Mega Aqua Food Park with central funding to the tune of 40 per cent of total cost of the project.

The firm has acquired 55 acres infertile land at Tundurru village and wanted to set up the park with built area in about 1.5 acres land and develop the green belt in the remaining area in compliance with international norms.

The food park will be having a 3,000 tonnes capacity cold storage facility to preserve the shrimps and fish from getting spoilt until the aqua farmers get a good price for their produce to sell them either in domestic or in international market.

Ananda Group authorities say that their project will have zero pollution and will release no chemicals or noxious gas and a small quantity of water that comes out from ice plants is free from effluents.

They allege that a small group of local fishermen and villagers with the support from CPM are carrying out mis-information campaign by saying that the effluents released from the park will pollute water bodies and affect fertile soil resulting in crop loss and release noxious gases affecting the health of people living in nearby areas.

They further allege that the local mafia tried to extort huge amount of money from them in order to allow construction of food park. When they resisted it, the mafia started to create a series of hurdles ranging from threatening the workers not to work and drivers not to transport material to project site.

The mafia confined three workers in a room at gram panchayat office and beat them up severely to create terror among them not to attend work earlier.

They say that nearly 25 to 30 food parks of similar nature are located in Bhimavaram alone and wonder as to why the local villagers are not opposing them if they really pollute water bodies with the discharge of effluents.

Sources say that when there was a huge uproar against the upcoming food park, the state government asked Ananda Group to stop construction and the latter also expressed its inability to go ahead with construction of work to the Centre.

However, the Centre intervened and directed the state government to allow the construction of the park by providing requisite support. Ananda Group director Ramakrishna Raju said, “Except for resistance by a small group of villagers with ulterior motive, the local people have realised the importance of having a food park in their area and are supporting it. Nearly 70 per cent of work is over and we are going to complete it by July.”

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