A villager at a coconut grove owned by his family, Talagana Puttuga, Sompeta.
Farmers leave for work in the morning, Akasha Lakkavaram, Vadditandra.
Ash from the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant’s 400MW captive thermal power plant flies into the neighbouring Appikonda village. The village is also the proposed site for a 1040 MW coal-fired power plant being promoted by the UK-based Hinduja group.
Appalareddy Pitta (23), a native of Pittavanipalem works as a welder in the middle-east. A week after he came home on a holiday, he developed sores and blisters all over his body, attributed to Arsenic poisoning.
Fishermen sort fresh catch at their hamlet in Meghavaram, Vadditandra. The best fish are kept aside for their own consumption and the rest are taken to the markets.
A villager shows roots picked from the Beela (wetland). The roots are a major source of iron and nutrition to the villagers.Golagondi, Sompeta.
Pelicans, Painted Storks and other migratory birds at Telineelapuram, a bird sanctuary about 2.5km from the plant site, Vadditandra. Though visited by 121 species of birds, it was mentioned as a minor breeding site for some birds in the Environment Assessment Report submitted by the promoters of the project for the purpose of permissions.
A worker harvests paddy crop at Korlam, Sompeta. The wetland is a major source of water for irrigation in the region; three lift irrigation schemes that draw water from the wetland irrigate 750 acres. This is in addition to the hundreds of acres that are dependent on water drawn directly through small channels and borewells.
A narrow water channel created after large tracts of land was reclaimed from the Kakarapalli swamp for the construction of the power plant at Vadditandra. The fishing community was severely affected after a chemical used to destroy the grass killed entire marine life in the swamp.
Lakshmi Jerolu with her three-year-old son at Akasalakkavaram, Vadditandra. Her husband, Nageswara Rao Jerolu (35), was killed in police firing during the protests on the 28th of February, 2011. She now cooks midday meals for children at a local school.
Migrant shepherds graze their sheep on the periphery of the swamp at Vadditandra.
Santosh Behara with the two fish that he had caught on a three hour hunt in the Bay of Bengal near Baruva, Sompeta. The fishermen community, already seriously affected by existing industries along the coast, has been quite vocal in the protests against the power projects.
Activists break fast on the 740th day of relay hunger strikes protesting the power project at Sompeta. The town receives a power cut for about three hours in the evening everyday.
Locals and activists clash with police at the public hearing for a proposed ferro alloys plant at Addaroad near Visakhapatnam. The agitations at Sompeta and Vadditandra have served to increas awareness levels among communities about potential health and environmental impact from industries, causing widespread public agitations against polluting industries.
High-tension power transmission lines built to carry power from the NTPC Simhadri power plant pass through agricultural fields near Parawada, Visakhapatnam.
In the Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh, India, a region noted for its economic underdevelopment, a new factory is good news. The younger ones may no longer need to queue up in front of army recruitment camps; it could also mean no longer being bothered by the endless waiting lists on trains towards Gujarat or ships to Port Blair.
But when two massive coal-fired thermal projects, each of 2640 MW, were announced at Sompeta and Vadditandra in the district, there was much resistance. The projects, proposed to be constructed on conserved wetlands against all environmental regulations in vogue, had the villagers up in arms. A few concerned villagers visited communities inhabiting areas surrounding a similar plant near Visakhapatnam. The news they brought back was grim. A thermal power plant means groundwater unfit for consumption, skin and neurological disorders caused by heavy metal poisoning and having to keep doors and windows always shut to protect themselves from the ash from the thermal plants.
When the private promoters of the projects and the administration, who sided with them, refused to budge, a prolonged battle was in the pipeline. Fishermen and farmers, two communities severely affected by the power generation facilities spearheaded the agitation. Six villagers, three each at Sompeta and Vadditandra were killed in police firing when they tried to stop the construction of the plants.