EAS Sarma Demands Experts’ Committee For Ensuring Food Security In AP
Narasapuram: Environmental activist and former Secretary to Government of India, EAS Sarma, has expressed anguish at the use of police force against villagers on Thursday when they were protesting against setting up of an aqua food park at Tundurru in West Godavari district.
In a letter addressed to AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday, he alleged that Godavari Aqua Food Company was being set up at Tundurru by the Anand Group without obtaining a valid environmental clearance. Even the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board had not conducted the mandatory public hearing owing to political pressures, he pointed out.
Citing directions of Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal under which industries should obtain environmental clearances before they begin work, Sarma told the Chief Minister in his letter that it was improper on part of AP Government to flout norms, as their non-compliance amounts to insulting the Constitution.
The activist said on one hand, the government was destroying thousands of acres of agricultural land for construction of the capital at Amaravathi in Krishna district, an airport at Bhogapuram in Vizianagaram district and a nuclear power project at Kovvada in Srikakulam district. On the other hand, it was doling out fertile agricultural lands to aqua companies. Such companies, besides polluting lands and water bodies in the vicinity, were harming the livelihoods of labourers who depended on agricultural lands for labour.
Sarma urged Chandrababu Naidu to encourage agriculture, traditional fishing and dairy industries in place of aqua companies, which cause pollution.
He demanded that the State Government constitute an experts’ committee to assess the extent of agricultural land required for ensuring food security in each district of the newly formed State. The committee can come up with a long-term plan within three months with regard to food security.
The activist reminded the Chief Minister of a fatal incident in which workers lost their lives in an aqua food company set up by the management of Godavari Aqua Food Company earlier at Nallammathota village near Mogalturu in West Godavari district. Criminal action should be against the management, instead of allowing it to set up another aqua food park at Tundurru in West Godavari district.
He wanted immediate shut down of the aqua park at Tundurru and stern action against officials of the APPCB and Revenue Department for violating norms. He sought dropping of police cases booked against the protesters.
He suggested that a public meeting be held for eliciting views of villagers as to why they were opposed to setting up the aqua park, pointing out that it was not too late yet to drop the proposal.