P.V.V. Murthi

“Airport expansion not at the cost of livelihood of farmers”

Utilise 800 acres already acquired in Mukundarayapuram village panchayat

PMK against leather SEZ in Vellore

VELLORE: The forcible acquisition of agricultural and residential land by the government amounted to State terrorism and violation of human rights, according to Pattali Makkal Katchi founder S. Ramadoss.

Participating in a meeting organised near the civil airport in Anpoondi near here on Friday to hear the views of the residents of six villages whose lands are to be acquired by the government for the expansion of the airport, Dr. Ramadoss said the government should not take away the lands of those who were not willing to part with it. “Some persons in Vellore say that I am a stumbling block in the expansion project, as if the expansion is going to bring about industrial development and provide access to higher education and generate employment to the local people.”

The PMK leader said that industries were no doubt necessary to bring about economic development, which was necessary for the development of the nation. But, the farmers, who constituted 80 per cent of the population, should not be deprived of their livelihood in the name of industrial development and airport expansion. He said that 640 acres of agricultural land, the land on which 900 houses and two schools had been built, and five irrigation lakes in six villages in three village panchayats, namely Anpoondi, Poigai and Sathyamangalam are to be acquired by the government for the proposed airport expansion.

Later talking to reporters, the PMK leader reiterated that he was not against the establishment of airports, which were necessary for faster transport. The PMK’s only contention was that airports should not be built at the cost of the livelihood of farmers. The government could utilise 800 acres of land, which it had already acquired in Mukundarayapuram village panchayat in Walajapet panchayat union five years ago for the purpose of setting up a leather sector special economic zone (SEZ), for constructing a civil airport.

The PMK was opposed to the establishment of the leather SEZ in the light of the fact that Vellore district was already described as a black district in view of the pollution caused by tannery effluents, he said.