Heavy security arrangements made; landowners removed by police
More than 400 police personnel were deployed in Sirukalanji and its nearby villages -Papampalayam and Alampalayam - as Gas Authority of India Limited’s (GAIL) gas pipeline laying work for a stretch of 40 km in Erode began on Saturday. It is part of the 310 km in which the Kochi to Bangalore gas pipelines will be laid in Tamil Nadu.
With four Deputy Superintendents of Police supervising the security arrangements, a team of 11 Inspectors, 70 Sub Inspectors and 374 policemen and women was present in the villages. Officials concerned said that heavy security arrangements were made to ensure that the pipeline work was not interrupted.
Earlier, farmers of Erode and Tirupur, who have been strongly opposing the pipeline laying work through agricultural lands, said that they would not allow the work to begin on Saturday. The police blocked the farmers in the nearby villages much before they could reach the place where the work began.
The officials said that they would acquire land for a width of 20 m and dig pits that are six feet deep and complete the work in the district in close to four months. Meanwhile, there was some resistance from the owners of the land where the work began on Saturday.
Landowners Ponammal and Vasanthamani of Mekalathottam area in Alampalayam village and their families claimed that they were not informed that their land would be dug for laying the pipeline. Revenue Divisional Officer R. Sugumar, who was present there, pacified them and said that they would be given compensation for the land used for laying the pipeline.
The officials said that for the area used by GAIL, as per the Government guideline value compensation would be given immediately in the form of cheques. However, women landowners who continued to oppose the project lied down before the equipment that were brought there to dig the ground. They were removed by women police after which the work began.