Vempenta villagers oppose mini power plant

Vempenta villagers oppose mini power plant
Highlights

Gandhian-style protest adapted Wish to vacate the whole village People of Vempenta on Sunday...

  • Gandhian-style protest adapted
  • Wish to vacate the whole village

People of Vempenta on Sunday expressed readiness to vacate the whole village en masse after they failed to stop the construction of a mini power plant in the village in what could be described as true Gandhian style. Tucked in the Nallamala forest in Pamulapadu mandal in the district Vempenta is not new the trials and tribulations.

The Dalits of Vempenta faced the wrath of the upper caste people and when retaliated, they faced a number of criminal cases. The fresh trouble started after Minister for Law and Justice Erasu Pratap Reddy went ahead with the construction of his own mini power plant near the village ignoring the protests from the villagers.

A rivulet, Nippulavagu, flows near the village providing water for irrigation and drinking purpose to the village throughout the year. The construction of the mini power plant near the village would damage the ecology, people alleged. The construction was stopped by the villagers for at least four times in the last one month. The Minister deployed the police force in the village to let the construction activities go on in spite of the adverse advice by the district collector and the Human Rights Commission.

The villagers on Sunday have unanimously decided to vacate the whole village. On hearing their decision, RDO Kurmanand rushed to the village and tried to pacify the agitating villagers. He requested the villagers to wait for two days till the district collector visit the village. The 10,000 strong villagers asked the RDO to stop the construction for two days till the collector arrived. Finally, the work on the mini power plant was stopped temporarily.

The villagers took out a massive rally in the village taking out an effigy of the minister in a procession. They burnt the effigy in the heart of the village. Addressing the meeting, the villagers said that the minister would not lose anything if the power plant was stopped. They pointed out that 25,000 acres would be deprived of irrigation facility with the construction of 7.5 mw power plant and the groundwater would be depleted. They expressed their readiness to vacate the village to enable the minister to build a bigger plant there.

M SATYA PETER

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