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All party talks on Gangagavaram Port fails

Written by: Staff
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Visakhapatnam, Apr 3 (UNI) An all party meeting with the government on the controversial Gangavaram Port ended in a stalemate as representatives supporting fishermen families stuck to their demand that work on the private sector port should be stalled till a proper relief and rehabilitation package was announced by the government.

Commercial Tax Minister K Ramakrishna, who represented the government, sought 24 hours to discuss work stoppage but representatives of fishermen belonging to the Left parties, Telugu Desam and BJP insisted that work be stopped to create a congenial atmosphere for more talks.

CITU state unit President Ch Narasinga Rao, who led opposition parties in the talks, told reporters they demanded that the police picket in trouble-torn Gangavaram village should be withdrawn. They also wanted cases against fishermen to be withdrawn.

Mr Ramakrishna, who also addressed the press, said government had announced a new relief package to villagers, which included provision of houses for displaced fishermen and families and a school building for children. A sum of Rs 25,000 would be paid to each family hit by the construction of the Rs 2000-crore private port in Gangavaram. An additional Rs 15,000 would be paid for shifting boats to Yarada, allocated for fisherfolk to continue their activities. Monthly resettlement allowance of Rs 3000 to fishermen and Rs 1000 to women, who would lose livelihood would be paid till they shifted to Yarada.

So far the Dubai-based consortium of companies developing the port, was paying this allowance to 530 persons, he said.

The demand for stoppage of work on the port would have to be discussed with the state government and a decision would be taken tomorrow. On cases against fishermen, he said the government had ordered a magisterial enquiry and the report was awaited. A decision on the next course of action would be taken after that.

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