Opposition corners govt over firing incident in Srikakulam

Opposition parties put the Andhra Pradesh government on the mat in the state Assembly on Saturday over the incident of police firing in Srikakulam district in which two villagers were killed on February 28.

Hyderabad: Opposition parties put the Andhra
Pradesh government on the mat in the state Assembly on Saturday over
the incident of police firing in Srikakulam district in which
two villagers were killed on February 28.

The government, however, did not concede to the
opposition`s demand for a judicial probe into the incident and
payment of Rs 10 lakh each to the kin of those killed.
"From Gangavaram (port), Mudigonda (land) to Sompeta
(thermal power project) and now Kakarapalli. Many people fell
to police bullets. Is the government trying to build factories
on human bodies in the name of development," senior TDP MLA
Dhulipalla Narendra Kumar questioned, initiating a short-
discussion on the Kakarapalli firing incident.

"Are we living in a democratic country," he said and
regretted that the government did not learn lessons from the
past incidents, the latest being at Sompeta in Srikakulam
district itself few months ago in which three persons were
killed.

Praja Rajyam Party, which will soon formally merge with
the ruling Congress, too condemned the Kakarapalli incident
and questioned why could not the government take up thermal
power projects with the consent of (local) people.

"The government failed to resolve the issue amicably when
villagers were protesting the setting of up the thermal power
plant for over 150 days," PRP deputy leader Bandaru Satyananda
Rao said.
Lok Satta Party president N Jayaprakash Narayan
participating in the discussion observed that earlier people
used to sacrifice their lives for the sake of new projects but
now they are losing lives by opposing them.

The government should ponder over the reasons for the
growing public resentment particularly towards
pollution-causing projects, he said.

Pointing out that the state government has permitted
setting up of several power projects, both public and private
sector, along the Bay of Bengal with a combined power
generation capacity of 60,000 MW, Jayaprakash Narayan asked if
the state really needed them.

"The controversial East Coast thermal plant proposed in
Srikakulam is a merchant plant from which the state will not
get even a single unit of power. What good is it for the
state," he questioned.

CPM leader Julakanti Ranga Reddy wondered if `rubber
bullets` too could be so lethal that people get killed.

"In that case, use of rubber bullets should also be
banned," he said.
In his response, Higher Education Minister K
Parthasarathi, who is in charge of Srikakulam district, said
the government paid Rs 5 lakh as compensation to the kin of
the two persons killed in police firing.

"We have also made arrangements for treatment of injured
persons while permanent houses will be built for those whose
dwellings were damaged in the violent incidents at Kakarapalli
and Vattithandra," he said.

Earlier, making a statement in the house, Home Minister
P Sabita Reddy said police had to resort to firing as the
protesting villagers had turned violent.

Incidentally, the Assembly transacted normal business
today for the first time during the ongoing Budget session
after remaining paralysed for over a week over the Telangana
issue.

PTI