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Farmers obstruct leather complex works

Farmers obstruct leather complex works
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Farmers are expressing anger over district administration for not paying enough compensation to them despite handing over fertile lands for the...

Nellore: Farmers are expressing anger over district administration for not paying enough compensation to them despite handing over fertile lands for the proposed Krishnapatnam International Leather Complex at Vavilla Doruvu under the limits of Kothapatnam panchayat in Kota mandal. They are organising protests by conducting mass cooking and spending sleepless nights to protect their lands.

The leather complex is a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) set up by the Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) and the Leather Industries Development Corporation of Andhra Pradesh (LIDCAP) and the State government and 485.88 acres of land was allocated at Kothapatnam village under the Mega Leather Cluster Scheme.

Grant Thornton India LLP has been appointed as the consultant for the project development. The project was proposed 8 years ago but it failed to take off. The State government had allotted land near Krishnapatnam Port in 2008. Subsequently, it was shifted to Kothapatnam area considering problem of backwaters. The estimated cost of the project was Rs 282 crore based on the Detailed Project Report (DPR).

Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) had also given consent to establish the complex and public hearing was also conducted in December 27, 2012. In 2019, officials concerned tried to conduct ground breaking ceremony with the support of police personnel as farmers have been on warpath.

“We have been asking officials to make it clear which type of industry they are going to set up and the pollution levels for safety of local population. But, they did not consider our request and are ready to pay compensation for farmers of 70 acres of land where cultivation is going on as per government records. In fact, the agriculture activity improved with mechanisation and drip irrigation and we were asking them to conduct a survey to know agricultural lands,” said U Prasad Goud, ZPTC member of Kota mandal.

Officials again organised public hearing with huge police force in March 2013. But, the locals vehemently opposed the public hearing. They took out huge protests and rallies in 2016. Now, farmers are not willing to lose the valuable and fertile lands and have been demanding right compensation. They camped at the fields and have been taking care of their lands obstructing activity of the leather complex.

“We don’t want to handover lands without proper compensation to the farmers as the cultivation area improved when compared to 2007 when the officials collected details. We are only asking them to conduct resurvey on agriculture activity within the last decade. We would continue the protests till justice is done,” added Prasad Reddy, who has been leading the movement.

A senior official from the APIIC said that the project would provide employment to local population and the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Government of India, also agreed to release the first instalment amount of Rs 31.25 crore for taking up civil works.

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