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Villagers clash with police over mining project

Villagers, opposed to setting up of an iron ore extraction plant in the village, clashed with police, after boycotting a public hearing.

Hyderabad: Tension prevailed in Marlapadu
village of Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh on Saturday, when
villagers, opposed to setting up of an iron ore extraction
plant in the village, clashed with police, after boycotting a
public hearing on the proposed plant.

Raising slogans against the proposed plant, hundreds
of villagers gathered outside the Zilla Parishad school in
Marlapadu in Tangutur mandal, where Pollution Control Board
and district authorities were holding a public hearing, police

The Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation
(APMDC) has entered into an agreement with Gympex, a private
firm, to start mining iron ore in Marlapadu and nearby
villages of Ongole mandal.

However, the locals are against the establishment of
the plant and mining in the area saying that a canal that is
supplying drinking water to the villages, would get polluted
and would also cause air and noise pollution in the area. They
also contend that locals will not be given employment at the

After the public hearing, the protesting villagers
waylaid Prakasam District Collector Kantilal Dande and other
officials and deflated the tyres of their vehicles, alleging
that the authorities discussed over the mining plant with
outside people, as Malapadu villagers had boycotted the public

"After the public hearing, the protesters blocked the
officials from proceeding and police had to intervene to bring
the situation under control," a senior police officer said.

The villagers entered into an altercation and had a
scuffle with the police personnel, when the cops intervened
and started dispersing the protesters, Prakasam district
Superintendent of Police K Raghuram Reddy told news agency.

"One homeguard was injured, after he was assaulted by
the villagers. Similarly, one woman also fainted during the
incident," he added. "We are initiating action against those, who were
responsible for injuring the homeguard," the SP said and
refuted allegations that police resorted to lathi-charge,
injuring scores of villagers including women.

According to officials, APMDC had transferred 1,200
acres in Konijedu and Marlapadu villages to Gympex to extract
the mineral. It is estimated that 60 million tonnes of iron
ore is available at the place.