NAGAPATTINAM: Farmer leader PR Pandiyan has stated GAIL violated norms while laying pipelines near Tharangambadi and the violations should be investigated by the State government.
Pandiyan, the Tamizhaga Cauvery Vivasayigal Sangam president, joined in the opposition to GAIL operations in Mudikondanallur near Tharangambadi on Sunday. He condemned the movements of excavators on cultivated fields and said it was illegal. Addressing media, Pandiyan, said, “GAIL works are taking place without informing farmers in advance. Their works have flattened cultivated fields. GAIL has not provided sufficient compensation to farmers for the losses and has violated all norms by laying pipelines in fields. Destroying cultivation this way is homicidal.”
He added, “Police, instead of filing cases against GAIL, are framing farmers on serious charges when they go to the police station seeking justice. The State government should intervene and investigate the violations that have taken place over the months through the Agriculture department. The government should take action against GAIL.” He demanded works be stopped until government intervention.
Meanwhile, many farmers have been giving in to GAIL’s demands and signing agreements to permit the laying of pipes in their fields. Some farmers who maintain they had been tricked into signing without explanation of terms and conditions said they would surrender their cheques to officials. Pandiyan stated guidelines for laying such pipelines under fields were not properly followed. “GAIL says it is planting pipes at a depth of six feet as per guidelines, but in many places, the depth is just three feet. When farmers cultivate in future in fields where pipelines have been laid at a depth of three feet, their fields could catch fire at any time if the pipes leak,” he said. He said laying of pipelines should take place only after farmers withdraw their objections. Excavators were hastily removed from fields by GAIL after opposition started to gain momentum with the arrival of Pandiyan on the scene on Sunday
R Iranian (47) of Tamizhaga Nilam Neer Pathukaapu Iyakkam who had been leading the opposition was arrested and remanded in Tiruchy Central Prison on Saturday. Some people booked along with Iranian for unlawful assembly, rioting, and criminal intimidation have gone into hiding. They stated they were yet to collect the receipt for the complaint they filed at Sembanarkoil police station after realising Iranian was arrested when he went to collect the receipt.