Special Correspondent

Farmers face threat of losing their lands to real estate sharks: Ramadoss

Villupuram: The Pattali Makkal Katchi will launch a "save cultivable lands" campaign in Chengalpattu district, to back farmers facing a threat from aggressive real estate sharks.

Party founder Dr S. Ramadoss, who will spearhead the campaign, said the South Arcot, North Arcot and Chengalpattu districts, which are "districts replete with tanks," had been supplying food grains to the State .

However, of late, the croplands were being converted into real estate, he said, asserting that the PMK would not remain a mute spectator to such a development.

Dr. Ramadoss, however, sought to dispel the notion that he was against the setting up of the Special Economic Zones (SEZ).

He said that it was not fair that hundreds of farmers should lose their livelihood just for providing jobs to a handful of people earning foreign exchange.

The Left parties, leaders such as V.P. Singh, farmers' associations and voluntary organisations too held a similar view.

Before taking up such a big project the Government must take political parties into confidence and initiate a debate in the Assembly, he said. If authorities could prove that the proposed SEZ at Nenguneri would create ample job opportunities, including jobs for those giving up their land, nobody would oppose it.

He said if the recommendations of the Rathinavel Pandian Committee, were implemented it would pave way for widespread industrial growth in the State. Aggressive land acquisition in the surroundings of Chennai alone would lead to serious consequences, he cautioned.

Regarding the threat of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) to review its ties with the DMK , in the wake of the poll violence and the subsequent arrests, Dr. Ramadoss said the DMK should take it as a warning and act suitably.

The alliance was formed on the basis of seat sharing and not on the basis of ideology. The seat sharing should be based on mutual give-and-take policy and should not be unilateral.

However, the DMK leadership had failed to make its second-rung and district-level leaders realised this. Had this been done such a complication would not have arisen. Dr. Ramadoss welcomed the suggestion of Chief Minister Karunanidhi that a 13-judge Bench of the Supreme Court must look into the reservation issue.

Dr. Ramadoss said his party was adhering to alliance dharma and if any of its candidates failed to vote for the allies in the indirect elections to the civic bodies, scheduled for Saturday, they would be summarily dismissed for ever.