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Striking work


The fishermen

had resolved to stop the port work indefinitely from Monday. They are demanding construction of a fishing jetty at Nallamaramapatalu in the vicinity of Gangavaram, as it is suitable for fishing, and a proper rehabilitation package.

Visakhapatnam, March 27

The row over construction of a private port at Gangavaram village in Visakhapatnam district turned bloody on Monday, resulting in the death of a fisherman when the police opened fire to quell the agitating fishermen. Some 50 persons, including several policemen, were injured in the incident.

The police opened four rounds of fire in the air and resorted to lathicharge on fishermen when the villagers rained stones at them brushing aside the police's pleas not to venture out of their houses and to drop their plan to stall work on construction of a private port by a DVS Raju-led consortium at a cost of Rs 2,000 crore.

The deceased was identified as Ch. Nookaraju (37). The injured included Armed Reserve ACP Mr M.S.S. Papa Rao, two AR inspectors, and several fishermen. The condition of 12 of the injured is said to be critical.

"Nookaraju died when they (the police) lobbed shells at unarmed fishermen. They even barged into the houses of fishermen and beat up women and children mercilessly," said Mr J.V. Satyanarayana Murthy, CPI District Secretary.

Mr V.S.K. Kaumudi, Commissioner of Police, Visakhapatnam described the incident as unfortunate and blamed the fishermen for taking the law into their hands by attacking police with sticks, rods, and stones.

"I appeal to them to maintain calm as the Government is seized of the matter. An all-party meeting is being convened in Hyderabad day after tomorrow," he added.

The fishermen, under the banner of Gangavaram Port Matsyakarula Aikya Vedika (GPMAV), had resolved to stop the port work indefinitely from Monday. They are demanding construction of a fishing jetty at Nallamaramapatalu in the vicinity of Gangavaram, as it is suitable for fishing, and a proper rehabilitation package. The CPM is in the forefront, organising the fishermen. The authorities arrested the CPI (M) District Secretary, Mr Ch. Narsinga Rao, and several others earlier on Monday morning.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 28, 2006)
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