By T S Sudhir
A Singur in Srikakulam? That’s the question uppermost in everyone’s minds as months of vehement opposition by local villagers, fisherfolk and environmentalists was sought to be brushed under the carpet to build a thermal power plant in Sompeta in Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh. “We do not want it here” was the locals’ position. But is it so easy to take on the state and a powerful corporate house? Environmentalists claim the public hearing conducted in August 2009 was a farce.
Development models are riddled with these kind of issues. Are we giving to the people what they want or what we (the state) want? The administration says there isn’t Maoist presence in Sompeta to pin blame for the violence in which two people were killed, on the outlaws. But never rule it out. The Maoist stamp is a handy tool in such situations and before long, you could find many a villager being labelled a Maoist or atleast a Maoist sympathiser. We will give you power, the state insists. But no, you do not have the power to protest. Ouch.
(video of my story on NDTV on the clash between police and villagers-fishermen in Sompeta in Srikakulam on 14 July)