Kakinada: Over 100 people were injured when villagers opposing a proposed power plant at Bikkavolu in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh clashed with police during the public hearing near here today, police said.
People from at least 12 villages in the vicinity are opposing the proposed 100-MW captive power plant of KPR Fertilisers at Bikkavolu, apprehending pollution and damage to crops.
The clash started when a team of district officials, led by Collector Neethu Kumary, tried to initiate the hearing on the contentious issue near Donthamuru village.
Angry villagers pelted police with stones who retaliated with lathicharge and chased protesters from the venue. "Many suffered bleeding injuries and a few fell unconscious in the melee", a police officer said.
The collector and other officials were whisked to safety by police as the mob tried to attack them, police said adding the public hearing was suspended in the wake of the violence.
People of Donthamuru, Bhavaram and thirty other villages in vicinity had gathered in large numbers since early morning, holding placards in protest of the setting up of the plant, police said.
Sensing trouble, the district administration also deployed heavy police security to avoid any untoward incident.
"Despite conciliatory efforts of the collector and top police officials, the mob went berserk and obstructed the public hearing", a district official said.
At least three media persons were also injured in the stone pelting and their OB vans damaged.
According to police, eighty people were arrested in connection with the violence and the situation is under control.