CHENNAI: More than 500 villagers from Thervoy Kandigai, Thirvallur district, took to the streets on Tuesday expressing their problems regarding the 1,500 acres of land acquired by SIPCOT to develop an SEZ. Men and women who were on the verge of losing their lands, spoke about of their loss of livelihood.
Nearly 1,500 acres of 'meikkal poromboke' (wasteland), which is rich in herbs, fruits and wildlife and also serves as a catchment area in this village, have been given to SIPCOT by the Tamil Nadu government to develop it into an SEZ. But ever since the project was made public in 2007, the villagers have been staging protest meetings to stop this process.
The protests intensified when the state government announced last year that the France-based tyre firm Michelin would set up a facility here at Thervoy. Thervoy is a major catchment area for four lakes, which supplies water for irrigation for nearly 5,000 acres of land in the 22 villages around Thervoy. Nagaraj, one of the villagers said, “We fear the pollution from the factory could destroy the entire eco-system. They have already cleared two acres of land. Once they clear of the forests, this will affect the water resources in the area in a long run.” More than 1 lakh people around this area depend on this source for their water needs. The people say they will file a PIL.