Fresh request can’t be granted, says RDO
Fisherfolk of Gullalamoda island on Tuesday launched a relay hunger strike in the mandal headquarters of Nagayalanka demanding inclusion of at least 48 individuals in the list of beneficiaries of compensation being offered for the proposed Missile Test Launch Facility project. The protest is being spearheaded by the Andhra Pradesh Matsyakarulu and Matsya Karmika Sangam (APMMKS).
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is planning to set up the facility on the island for which 381 acres of forest land will be diverted. The fisher folk were engaged in aqua and agriculture activities on the land until 2010.
As many as 112 individuals were found eligible for compensation during the enjoyment survey (2010-11) carried out by the district authorities. The then Joint Collector had recommended the State government to sanction ₹1.8 lakh to each beneficiary for diverting the proposed forest land for the project, citing direct impact on their livelihood.
According to sources, the DRDO had in principle agreed to pay the compensation as recommended by the State government. In 2011, the fisher folk were asked to stop aquaculture and any other activity on the land.
APMMKS district secretary P. Srinivasa Rao demanded that the case of the 48 families be considered favourably. The 48 individuals were part of the three fishermen cooperative societies whose members, including the identified 112 beneficiaries, were previously engaged in aquaculture and agriculture practices on the forest land.
Bandar Revenue Divisional Officer P. Saibaba told The Hindu that there was no plan to conduct a resurvey. He made it clear that compensation would be paid based on the 2010-11 enjoyment survey alone.
Meanwhile, the fisher folk said the protest would continue till August 5.