A protest was staged against land acquisition notification for setting up SIPCOT Industrial Estate – Phase 3 in Shoolagiri.
The recent notification on acquisition of rich agricultural lands of over 834 acres to establish the project that was announced last year in the State Assembly has triggered strong protests from farmers and political parties alike.
On Tuesday, the Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam staged a protest outside the Collectorate demanding that the administration renounced its claims on cultivable lands as notified.
The project is slated to be established on over 2,000 acres acquired from over 6 panchayats of Shoolagiri union. They include over 834 acres of cultivable lands in Koneripalli, Atakurikki, Kanalatti, Maruthandapalli, Chettipalli, and Thoripalli.
The area is a watershed, irrigated by the water of Thenpennai river from Kelavarapalli dam.
According to Dilli Babu, Harur MLA, the land was earlier acquired for two similar industrial estates under SIPCOT, and over 236 units seemed non-functional.
Mr. Dilli Babu alleged that cultivable lands were marked as fallow lands and notified for acquisition. But the lands were currently under horticultural crops, and they provide livelihood and food security to the farmers here.
It was evident that the revenue officials had not visited the lands, but had notified them for acquisition, Mr.Babu said.
“We met the Collector and he has asked us to petition the Government and that he would also send a report to the State Government,” he told The Hindu .
According to P.Shanmugam, State general secretary of Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam, over 90 per cent of the farmers in the area were small and marginal farmers. There was a systemic diversion of agricultural lands for industrial purposes.
Also, a public hearing that was scheduled to be held at the Collectorate for the project was cancelled following the protest. However, Mr. Dilli Babu and Mr. Shanmugam questioned about the venue of the public hearing.
“A public hearing should be held in the vicinity of the project area to enable the participation of the affected people,” they said.
On the sidelines, the Pattali Makkal Katchi staged demonstrations in Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri against the proposed amendments to Land Acquisition Act.