Hyderabad: Opposing the proposed calcined petroleum coke plant in Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh, villagers Wednesday tried to disrupt a public hearing.
Tension prevailed in Sitampalem village in Visakhapatnam district, about 650 km from here, as the villagers clashed with the policemen deployed for public hearing by the district authorities.
The protesters damaged two police vehicles while police used batons.
The villagers, under the banner of the Movement for People Centred Development (MPCD), are opposing the establishment of a 4.60 lakh tonne capacity calcined petroleum coke plant with a 25 MW power plant at Chaatametta.
The protesters allege that the plant would damage the environment and derail the livelihood of local communities, especially fishermen, and pose public health hazard.
The Hyderabad-based Sanvira Industries is setting up the plant but the locals want the government to reconsider its permission for the project as it would release harmful pollutants.
According to MPCD, a consultant report submitted to the government said only sulphur dioxide would be released. But the plant would release lead, mercury and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
It alleged that the environment impact assessment (EIA) report prepared by the B.S. Envitech of Hyderabad did not contain all relevant information in full.
The management of Sanvira Industries, however, has allayed fears that the factory would release mercury, lead and trace elements into the environment.
It has clarified that the petrol coke would only be densified in the process and there would not be any burning of it.
Visakhapatnam and other north coastal Andhra districts of Srikakulam and Vijayanagaram are witnessing protests by people and environmentalists over the upcoming establishment of thermal and nuclear power plants, sand and bauxite mining and other projects which reportedly pose a threat to the environment and affect the livelihood of local communities.