A day after the death of five workers while cleaning the effluent tank belonging to Ananda Aqua Exporters, officials of the Industries department seized the marine food processing unit at Nallavari Cheruvu hamlet near Mogalturu on Friday, while the residents of Tundurru, Kamsali Bethapudi and Jonnalagaruvu villages — located a few kilometres away from the unit — intensified their agitation demanding relocation of the proposed Godavari Aqua Food Park in their three-village cluster by the same developers.
Residents of the three villages, who had been fighting against the food park for the last eight months and were subjected to arrests, court cases and imprisonments, got support from their counterparts in Mogalturu on Friday. People in large numbers from Mogalturu visited Tundurru on Friday and extended their solidarity with the agitating residents.
Though a huge demonstration was planned at the proposed project site by the villagers, the police refused permission and it resulted in a a wordy duel between the residents and the police. The death of five workers while cleaning the effluent tank at a processing unit of 30 tonnes a day remained a major cause for concern among the residents of Tundurru, as the proposed food park has a capacity of processing 40,000 tonnes of marine produce a day. Though incidents of workers falling sick due to the release of gases from the marine food processing units in East Godavari and West Godavari districts were often being reported, the Mogalturu incident was the lone one in which five workers lost their lives. A couple of months ago, over 100 workers from Nekkati Sea Foods, near Peddapuram in East Godavari district, were taken ill after inhaling poisonous gases. Similar incidents were reported from the units located at Kakinada and Palakol, in which the number of affected was quite low. The incidents, however, raised the question of safety in the aqua food processing units.
The Mogalturu incident has prompted the East Godavari district administration to appoint a five-member committee, headed by the Deputy Chief Inspector of Factories, to inspect the safety aspects in the aqua food processing units. Collector H. Arun Kumar on Friday announced that the committee would inspect all the aqua processing units and come out with its remarks.