|Even as the paperwork is progress for the proposed petrochemical complex on the city’s outskirts, uncertainty loomed large over its realisation with the farmers challenging the land acquisition in the court of law, besides gearing up to undertake an agitation demanding a fair deal. The two public sector majors Gas Authority of India (GAIL) and the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) have come forward to set up the complex in the State and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Andhra Pradesh government during the second round of Sunrise Andhra Pradesh Investment Meet held in Visakhapatnam in January this year.|
Keeping in view of the availability of hydrocarbon reserves and the oil and gas infrastructure in Kakinada, the State government zeroed in on the city and allocated 2,000 acres in the Kakinada Special Economic Zone (KSEZ) for the ₹37,000 crore project of the 1.5 million tonne ethylene derivative plant, which is expected to provide direct employment to 1,000 and indirect jobs to about 30,000 people. After presenting preliminary project feasibility report before Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, representatives of the two firms called on District Collector Kartikeya Misra early this week and listed out the prerequisites for the commencement of the works. Mr. Misra too responded positively and assured them that the district administration would assist them on all fronts. He has agreed in principle to allocate 150 acres for the construction of a township for the employees of the complex and another 100 acres for developing import, reserve and dispatch facilities for raw materials such as ethane and propane.
However, the farmers, who had lost their cultivable lands to the KSEZ and launched a series of struggles, have finally approached the Supreme Court questioning the very establishment of the KSEZ. Of the 10,500 acres of lands acquired for the KSEZ, ownership of an extent of 5,100 acres is at question, the farmers say. Wondering how the government make arrangements for laying of foundation stone for the multi crore- complex without rendering justice to the farmers, convener of the KSEZ Farmers Struggle Committee Chinta Suryanarayana Murthy says there is no compromise on the land issue, as the farmers have been fighting for it for the last 12 years.
“We have formed as the KSEZ Affected Farmers Association and field a petition in the Supreme Court seeking its intervention in the land acquisition. The trial is in progress and a hearing is scheduled for October 3,” he has told The Hindu, adding that the issue would be brought to the notice of all the officials concerned.