Farmers seek new highway alignment

Farmers of Tiruvallur district on Friday urged the government to consider an alternative alignment for the proposed six-lane 126.55 km Chittoor-Thatchur National Highway No. 716B.

They expressed hope that the new government in the State would address their concerns.

Sashikumar, a farmer, said the farmers would petition Chief Minister M.K. Stalin to look at their plight. “They have promised not to allow the Chennai-Salem road since it affects farmers. We are also farmers and have families to take care of,” he said.

Seventy-four villages, 43 in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh and 31 in Tiruvallur villages, were located along the alignment of the project. Most of the families living in these villages were dependent on agriculture for their livelihood, with paddy and sugarcane being the major crops. Around 70% of the lands being acquired for the road were agriculture land.

Ramesh, who was among those who refused to hand over patta papers to revenue officials at Uthukottai on Friday, said that people would be rendered jobless. “Our forefathers have been involved in agriculture and feeding people. We have not depended on the government for jobs. They are now making us landless and forcing us to look outside,” he said.

Seshadri, another farmer, said the project could take another route along a forest rather than cut across their lands, which formed a part of the district’s rice bowl. “Nobody has come to our help. The National Highways Authority of India can still look for another alignment for this road. We cannot buy agricultural land elsewhere since converting land for this purpose is not possible,” he pointed out.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 10:04:51 PM |

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