Another Singur in the making in Tamil Nadu?March 13th, 2008 - 11:33 pm ICT by admin
Dharmapuri (Tamil Nadu), March 13 (IANS) Some 10,000 inhabitants of 14 villages in this hilly district in the western edges of Tamil Nadu are on the warpath over the administration’s moves to acquire 2,880 acres of agricultural land for industry. Officials at the district collector’s office admitted that proposals have been forwarded to the state government to create three industrial zones, spread over 3,500 acres and covering 14 villages of Dharmapuri, nearly 400 km from Chennai, under the aegis of the Small Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu (SIPCOT).
Villagers belonging to Nallampalli Panchayat Union Thursday announced they would launch protests by blocking traffic on a nearby highway by this weekend if their petitions submitted to District Collector P. Amutha went unheeded.
“If we are uprooted from our small holdings, sans any skill other than agriculture, what will we do for our livelihood? Why can’t the government choose fallow lands for creating such (industrial) zones? And what option do we have other than blocking traffic to make ourselves heard?” asked G. Meena Devi, a 43-year-old farmhand.
“This will become another battleground like Singur (in West Bengal) and force the nation to sit up and take notice by bringing the traffic here to a grinding halt,” said K. Ramasamy, a small farmer who owns two acres of plantain plantation bang in the middle of the proposed industrial zone.
The officials refrained from commenting. “Though we have sent the proposal, nothing has been finalised yet,” one of them said.
This green belt also abounds in paddy fields, sugarcane and coconut groves.
An acre of land costs around Rs.600,000 in the area, according to the state revenue department’s guideline value.
There are no indications about the monetary compensation to the farmers if the district administration’s proposal is sanctioned by the state government. This has heightened fears of the people in this Maoist violence prone area.