NELLORE: Notwithstanding the hue and cry being raised by the locals and environmentalists against the establishment of Krishnapatnam International Leather Complex at Kothapatnam village in Kota mandal of SPSR Nellore district, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion has cleared the project during the 10th empowered committee meeting recently.

The project was given environment clearance in 2014, even though residents of 10 surrounding villages staged protests and marred the proceedings of public hearing held twice. The Centre provided `125 crore for the implementation of the project with grant/funding under the mega leather cluster scheme of Government of India and the state government had already allotted 532.69 acres for the project.

Incidentally, the project, which was originally allotted for Tamil Nadu, was shifted to Andhra Pradesh after people of the neighbouring state vehemently opposed it, citing serious threat to environment and health of the people. Pointing to aquaculture and paddy cultivation in more than 1,500 acres close to the project site and ground water availability within 18 ft, a resident of Kottapatnam village and TD member of zilla parishad territorial constituency Uppala Prasad Goud alleged that pollution from the leather complex would definitely pollute the water and damage crops and aqua sector.

An engineering graduate, Prasad Goud said the livelihood of thousands of fishermen depending on the Bay of Bengal would also be at stake because of release of effluents into the sea. Mr Prasad said, “We are not against development, but we are opposing this particular project, which is expected to provide direct and indirect employment to 15,000 people, after coming to know about the serious health problems of people living close to tanneries in Tamil Nadu. The project will have a serious impact on Pulicat bird sanctuary and Pulicat lake located within a radius of 10 km.”

Meanwhile, senior officials of the district are wary of going ahead with the project in view of public outcry, which they feel would hit the ongoing exercise to procure 10,000 acres in the region on a war footing for Visakhapatnam-Chennai and Chennai-Bangalore industrial corridors.

Source: DECCAN CHRONICLE

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