Land acquisition for the sub-station project by the Power Grid Corporation of India dominated the monthly farmers’ grievance day meet held at the Vellore Collectorate on Friday. The farmers attached with the Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam condemned the acquisition of 120 acres of farm land at Illayanallur village two weeks ago without their knowledge.
“Eight farmers have obtained stay order from the Madras High Court against land acquisition,” said G R Lokabiram, state secretary of the Sangam. “Sixteen others have approached the court with their petitions up for hearing.” “How can the officials acquire land when the farmers obtained stay order against it, using force to remove the farmers from their own land?,” he asked.
The district administration allegedly used the police force and forcibly acquired the land. The police also arrested farmers and ill-treated them, according to Lokabiram.
The family of one of the farmers, whose land was acquired for the project, was forcefully thrown out of their house. “His belongings were thrown out by the officials and a fence was erected around the house,” said the farmer.
“The farmers were not allowed to harvest paddy and other standing crops in the land acquired for the sub-station,” said Kannappa Naidu, district secretary of the Sangam. “The farmers’ lands were acquired at a cheap rate of `560 per cent,” he said.
However the district collector, Ajay Yadav, assured that such incident would not take place in the future. “I will personally inspect the land and have a meeting with the farmers. We will also issue prior notification to the farmers and the district administration will consider barren lands for development projects in the future,” said the collector.
Janardhanan, a farmer from Vadakari village near Ambur raised the issue of pollution. He said that the tanneries in the area still continue to discharge poisonous effluent into water bodies affecting ground water. “Coconut groves around Ambur got affected and coconut water has become undrinkable. Agricultural activities have been affected,” said Janardhanan.
Farmers from Vaniyambadi and Pernambut areas questioned the duties of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board over the issue.
The collector said that he would take severe action against the leather industries, if they were not adhering to the norms stipulated by the government and the court guidance.