UDUPI: The villagers from Punachuru, Cholebettu, Cherkadi, Kambalamajalu and Bayarabettu staged protests alleging Udupi DC’s lethargy in checking the Coastal Freezer and Export Fish Meal Industry. Upset with the district administration’s lackadaisical approach in curbing the growing fish meal industry in the area, Kukkehalli villagers have threatened to boycott the forthcoming Legislative Assembly elections as they claim that it is robbing them of their livelihood.
The fishermen charged that the wells in the area are contaminated and they are facing a severe shortage of water.
Sanjeev Naik Cholebettu from Marati community alleged that the effluents from the fish meal industry are discharged into the Madisalu river, killing aquatic life. Effluents are contaminating the groundwater level as well, he claimed.
The population in the area comprises a majority of SC/ST communities in the villages. Women, like Susheela and Devaki, alleged that their grievances have not been attended to because they belong to the lower strata of society.
They alleged that if the Gram Panchayat is approached with a complaint, the water supply will be disconnected. Agriculture in the area is also affected by toxic water, the charged.
The water in the nearby well, built by the government, has tested toxic for drinking purposes. The villagers said they had also approached the Zilla Panchayat CEO and the assistant commissioner in Kundapur, but failed to get a response. Vexed by this, about 2,000 villagers in the area have threatened to boycott elections.
Pushpa, a resident, said that when she contacted a doctor for repeated illness, she was told that she is suffering due to water infection. Children too are not spared. They suffer from issues of low weight and allergies, she said.