The reported suicide of a farmer on his farmland in the vicinity of the protest site against the GAIL pipeline project in Paaparapatty whipped up tensions on Wednesday.
A 43 year old farmer Ganesan took the extreme step off a protest site against the GAIL pipeline project in Kariappanalli hamlet in Paaparapatty on Wednesday. While the cause of the suicide was yet to be ascertained, farmers retrieved the body and sat on the Pennagaram road aggravating tension in the area.
Revenue officials alongside GAIL staff were in the process of measuring lands reportedly for satellite mapping for the proposed GAIL pipeline project in Paaparapatty on Tuesday and Wednesday. The survey, however, led to protest by farmers. As the protests continued into Wednesday in the light of continuing survey, the farmer Ganesan of Kariappanalli hamlet in Pallipatti village, who according to the local sources had participated in the protests over the two days, reportedly left the protest site and soon after his body was found in his land, nearby.
This triggered outrage, with farmers alleging that it was a protest suicide. The body of Ganesan was brought to the main Pennagaram road forcing a blockade.
When contacted, Collector S.Dhivyadarshini said survey was on for the rerouting of the pipeline to avoid farmlands. “Currently a survey is underway on government lands on the boundary of the road and nobody’s private land was being measured. Our people (revenue staff) were sorting out the issue, since people had an apprehension that it might go to the patta land.”
According to the Collector, initially, the project was to be taken via farmlands. But now, there is no question of it being taken through the farmlands, Ms.Dhivyadarshini said.
Asked if this information was communicated to the farmers, the Collector emphasised that farmers had clearly been told that no patta land will fall on the line. “The survey is being undertaken in 7 locations, and of those, it has been completed in 4 locations without any issue. Not that they do not know that in such places also only government land was measured. It was completed in Krishnagiri and Salem without any issue. The information that only government land is being measured has been conveyed locally through the VAO, through divisional officers, and also GAIL.”
“We do not know the reason why he committed suicide and enquiry is still going on. We will be upfront about what happened based on the enquiry by evening, said the Collector.
Assistance to overcome suicidal thoughts is available on the State’s Health helpline - 104 - and Sneha - 044-2464 0050.