Hyderabad: In a bizarre incident 700,000 poultry birds died when a mob cut off the power supply to a poultry farm in Vizianagaram district, which cut the air conditioning and caused asphyxiation.

A mob barged in to the Radha Sakku Agrio Bio Pharma and switched off the power supply. When the staff tried to start the generator they were attacked and beaten up leading to the massive death of the birds. The company officials have said that it caused a loss of whopping Rs210 million.

The long drawn protest by the local people against the pollution and the stink emitting from the poultry farm in Karlam village under Chirupally mandal of Vizianagaram district took an ugly turn on Wednesday when hundreds of people from surrounding villages staged a sit in protest in Karlam demanding the closure of the unit.

The poultry farm belongs to the Radha Sakku Agro Bio Pharma company which also runs the other units of its business from the same premises. Alleging that that the stink and the pollution was adversely affecting their health, the people from Karlam, Alajangi and Metpally villages sat down on the road.

The local police and revenue department officials tried to sort out the issue by talking to the local leaders and the company officials. The protestors led by the primary agricultural committee S Srinivasulu demanded to know how the area Panchayat allowed setting up a polluting unit so close to the villages and what kind of chemicals were being used in the plant.

A settlement appeared possible as the Chipurupally police station sub inspector Adbul Maroof and revenue divisional officer M Shankar Rao assured the people that a general body meeting of the village will be called on July22 to solve the matter and company officials will also give explanation. The company officials assured that they will take necessary action to stop the smell coming from their premises.

But the situation suddenly got out of hand as another group of villagers attack the company and ransacked it and switched off the power supply. Though the police later used force to disperse the mob the restoration of power supply took a very long time. Deputy general manager of the company Sitrama Raju was also injured in the attack.

Officials said that the birds were kept in air conditioned halls as the region is still in the grip of a heat wave.

Tension has gripped the area and additional police forces have been deployed in Karlam and surrounding villages.

On company’s claim of losses, revenue department officials said that they were still enumerating and estimate the losses.