Farmers association protest against proposed SIPCOT project in Tiruvannamalai

The proposal to acquire cultivable lands for the project should be dropped, they say

November 29, 2023 06:20 pm | Updated 09:08 pm IST - TIRUVANNAMALAI

Farmers staging a protest in Tiruvannamalai on Wednesday.

Farmers staging a protest in Tiruvannamalai on Wednesday.

Members attached to the Tamil Nadu Farmers’ Association protested against the proposed SIPCOT expansion project near Cheyyar, in front of the Collectorate in Tiruvannamalai on Wednesday.

The farmers said that residents in the affected nine villages near Cheyyar town have been protesting for more than three months against the proposed project. Several cases have been booked against 31 farmers, who have been opposing the project.

The police have also registered 17 cases against A. Arul, a social activist, who is currently in jail under Goondas Act. “The State government should withdraw all cases registered against the farmers immediately. The Goondas Act against Mr. Arul should be revoked. The proposal to acquire cultivable lands for the project should be dropped,” said R. Velusamy, State president, Tamil Nadu Farmers’ Association.

The farmers said the proposal to acquire cultivable lands was not restricted to Cheyyar project alone but the State government had similar proposals to acquire 2,000 acres each in Namakkal and Krishnagiri districts for industrial projects and 5,748 acres for the proposed second airport in Paradur near Kancheepuram.

“When they were in the opposition, they opposed the proposed eight-lane Chennai-Salem Expressway due to the acquisition of farmland for the project. However, after assuming office, the DMK has shown interest in the project,” said Narayasamy Naidu of the association.  

Further, the farmers said that on the one hand, the State government had been introducing industrial projects in cultivable areas in the State in the name of development while on the other hand, they failed to get the sanctioned Cauvery water from Karnataka. It affected thousands of farmers in the delta region as they were unable to start the cultivation.

“The State government should stop acquiring cultivable lands for any developmental projects. If it continues to do so, the farmers in the State will organise massive protests in front of the State Secretariat in Chennai soon,” Mr. Velusamy said.

As part of its proposed Phase - III project, SIPCOT has identified 3,174 acres, covering nine villages such as Melma, Athi, Narmapallam, Kurumbur, Thethurai, Nedungal, Vada Alapirandan, Veerapakkam and Lianeerkundram that come under Anakavoor panchayat union of Cheyyar sub-division.

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