They thank Chief Minister for having come to their rescue

Farmers and political parties across West Zone responded with expressions of appreciation and thanks following Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s announcement on asking Gas Authority of India (GAIL) to stop pipeline-laying work immediately and try to carry out the project without affecting the livelihood of farmers.

GAIL proposed to lay pipelines for 310 km and 20 metre width through the Western districts of Tamil Nadu for its pipeline project from Kochi to Bengaluru.

Farmers objected saying it would halt irrigation in several thousand acres of land. The Chief Minister, after consultations, ordered a public hearing.

Responding to a calling attention motion on the floor of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, the Chief Minister listed the setbacks that the scheme would cause to the farmers and announced decisions protecting the interests of the farmers.

G.K. Nagaraj, State General Secretary of Kongu Nadu Munnetra Kazhagam (KNMK) who was also part of the farmers’ livelihood protection Committee thanked the Chief Minister for taking note of the opposition by farmers and for having come to their rescue. He also thanked the Coimbatore MP P.R. Natarajan for his efforts.

State General Secretary of the Kongu Nadu Desiya Makkal Katchi E.R. Easwran said that the Government had acted positively after the public hearing.

Namakkal: Farmers of Thokavadi lighted fireworks and distributed sweets at Four Roads junction. Revenue officials said that GAIL had initiated the pipeline work through agricultural lands owned by 351 farmers in various villages.

Farmer S. Kanagaraj said but for CM’s intervention it would have been an end for farming and livelihood of the farmers.

Erode: “The Chief Minister has reflected the opinions of the farming community,” Association for Sustainable Agriculture Convener K.V. Ponnaiyan said. GAIL should lay the pipelines along the highways as it involved only an additional 13 km, he added.

Tirupur: P. Mohan, the All India Kissan Sabha District President, said that the State Government’s decision was the result of the crusades carried out by farmers highlighting their genuine grievances.

“Even in the new alignment suggested by the government of laying the pipelines alongside the highways, compensation should be given at the market rate in case any of the farmers’ landholdings lying close to the roads have to be used,” he added.

Compensation to the tune of Rs. 19 lakh was distributed to as many as 56 persons as compensation for using the land and to offset the losses for the crops/ trees displaced for laying the pipelines.

Salem: District unit of Tamilaga Vivasayigal Livelihood Protection Committee in charge V. Manikandan said that farmers who were upset over the Petroleum Minister’s remark are now a relieved lot because of the announcement by the Chief Minister.

Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri: K.M. Ramagoundar, General Secretary of the Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam said that it was a ‘right and remarkable decision’ taken by the State Government at the right time to protect the interest of farmers.

He also said that the same yardstick should be followed in acquiring land for development projects by the Central projects in the State.

(With inputs from V.S. Palaniappan in Coimbatore, R. Vimal Kumar in Tirupur, S. Ramesh in Erode, M.K. Ananth in Namakkal, S.P. Saravanan in Salem and R. Arivanantham in Hosur).