TIRUVANNAMALAI: With incessant protests erupting against the proposed Rs 10,000 crore eight lane green corridor express highway in five districts, including Tiruvannamalai, the State government had recently promised compensations to those who would have to give up their land. But, what would happen to the farm labourers, who depend on these lands for their livelihood. A minimum of 6,000 farming families would be directly affected by the project in Tiruvannamalai district alone. A farmer from Chengam taluk in the district said that nearly 85 women and 20 men earn their living from his five acres of land.
“These workers have been involved in farming all their lives. My land is under threat because of the Chennai-Salem green highway project and hence these labourers will be affected,” he added
Farmhands here are devoid of any solution to their crisis. “I have been working as a farm labourer for the past 15 years in Namiyanthal village. Now, I am scared that this project would put an end to my livelihood. Farming is the only work I know and I do not want to move out my district,” laments a local.
C Alagesan, a CPM member in the district, stated that a report submitted to the farmers’ associations by the State government pointed out that around 700 hectares (approximately 1,700 acres) of farm land would be acquired for the project from the district alone. Farming of sugarcane and paddy is currently underway in most of these lands. Production of cane, paddy, Manila crops, ground nuts and others will be affected severely, he said.
“Our district stands second with regard to paddy cultivation and third in sugarcane production. If our farms are taken to build roads the crop production will plummet and the scarce supply will skyrocket the crop prices,” Alagesan claimed.
Scarce employment opportunities, hike in crop prices and displacement of farm labourers to other districts in search of menial jobs are inexorable if the government goes ahead with the project, he added.
No allotment for crop loss: Ramadoss
Chennai: The budget for Salem-Chennai Green Corridor has no scope for compensation for standing crop loss, alleged PMK founder S Ramadoss. Farmers in the project hit five districts will oppose the project, he warned. In a statement, he noted that the State government had said that it will dole out higher compensation to farmers who give up lands for the project.
As per the government’s notification, on an average `75 lakh would be offered per hectare in Kancheepuram district as compensation, `25 lakh per hectare in Salem district and `9 lakh in Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts. And it is pegged at `7 lakhs per hectare in Tiruvannamalai district. The compensation also includes the standing crops. “Will the Salem collector or the government elaborate where and which land will fetch `9.04 crore per hectare as assured by it earlier?” He asked.