A section of residents and farmers in Palayam, Kottarnatham and D. Goodalur have demanded that the district administration drop the proposal to acquire cultivable lands for setting up the SIPCOT industrial estate in 2,000 acres in Vedasandur block here on Monday.

Hundreds of farmers and local people from Kottarnatham, Palayam and near by areas staged a demonstration before the collectorate and later laid a siege to it. “The state government has plans to acquire agriculture lands in D. Goodalur, Landhakottai, and Karungal panchayats for the proposed SIPCOT estate.

Such measure will wipe out the livelihood of thousands of farmers in these villages as the Vedasandur block has large tracts of cultivable land”, said L. Thangavel, union secretary of Tamil Nadu Farmers Association.

Farmers have been raising tuar, maize, millet, sesame seeds and chowlee bean (thattai payaru) in these villages. Majority of the farmers have small land holdings and the proposed project would not only wipe out agricultural activities but also make them labourers”, said Dindigul MLA K. Balabarathi, who led the farmers. Though, the government had issued orders stating that agricultural land should not be acquired under any circumstances for any other purposes, the order is being violated by the government itself, she charged. Cultivable lands are already shrinking at an alarming pace in the district owing to shortage of water, failure of monsoon and other developmental activities.

Many farmers did not raise crop last season owing to failure of monsoon. Now, at a time when the farmers are ready to raise single crop this year due to good rains, the proposal to acquire the lands would ultimately leave 5,000 persons jobless”, she worried.

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