Urges Chief Minister to orderrelease of arrested farmers

P.R. Natarajan, MP, has urged the Chief Minister to protect the interests of the farmers on the issue laying of pipelines by the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL).

In a memorandum to Chief Minister, Mr. Natarajan said that the project for laying pipelines has commenced and the High Court has already issued a set of guidelines for executing the project.

It was unfortunate that a meeting of the farmers who are likely to be affected in seven districts had not been conducted by the Collectors to know their view. Contrary to it, GAIL has commenced the laying of pipelines by forcibly removing the farmers using the police in Dharmapuri, Erode and Tirupur. In Dharmapuri, Farmers Livelihood Protection Committee office bearers had been arrested and remanded to custody.

Contrary to the promises given prior to the issue of guidelines, the GAIL has now once again stated that it would award compensation only as per the guideline value of 1996.

At one stage, it had promised to provide compensation as per the guideline value of 2012. GAIL itself had admitted that in Kerala it had changed the pipeline alignment for 36 km in a bid to protect the farmlands.

Mr. Natarajan lamented that it was unfortunate that the State official machinery joining hands with GAIL and using police to suppress the farmers’ community even when the High Court guidelines are not being complied with.

Quoting media reports, the MP said that removing women forcibly especially when the livelihood of farmers were hit due to poor monsoon and deficit rainfall was only adding up to their miseries.

Mr. Natarajan urged the Chief Minister to order for release of the farmers and also to arrange for talks to hammer out a solution to the problem.