Lay the pipeline without affecting the farmlands, protesters say

Members of various farmers’ associations and political parties have joined hands to protest against the Gas Authority of India Limited’s gas pipeline project. Participating at a meeting held here on Sunday, they urged the State government to stop the laying of pipeline immediately and convene a tripartite meeting to discuss the issue.

A majority of the participants stated that they were not against the laying of gas pipeline. “We are only opposing the move to lay the pipeline through farmlands”, they said.

“The GAIL authorities have laid the pipeline for about 30 kilometres along the National Highways in Kerala following opposition from the farmers. Similarly, the company laid the pipeline along the National Highways in Karnataka. Then why it is keen on laying the pipes through farmlands in Tamil Nadu?” asked Pattali Makkal Katchi President G. K. Mani during his speech.

CPI National Secretary D. Raja said that the pipeline should be laid without affecting the farmlands.

The country was facing a serious threat to food security as the farmlands were fast becoming commercial properties. The government should take steps to protect the agricultural fields and an alternate route should be used for laying the pipeline, he stressed. Mr. Raja also appealed to the government to organise a meeting to discuss the issue in detail with farmers and authorities from the public sector major.

DMK leader S. Muthusamy criticised the State Government for not supporting the farmers in this issue and its failure to stop the GAIL from laying the pipeline. All the speakers in the meeting suggested that the pipeline should be laid along the National Highways.

“We are going to conduct a series of agitations and meet the chief secretary to explain our concerns. We will also meet the Chief Minister in this regard,” G.K. Nagaraj, coordinator of Farmers’ Livelihood Protection Movement, said. Erode MP A. Ganeshamurthi also spoke.

A large number of farmers attended the meeting.

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