Nagapattinam villagers protesting CPCL land acquisition firm on poll boycott

As part of plans to expand its refinery unit in the Cauvery basin at Panangudi, Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited is acquiring around 700 acres of land
 As part of their protests over the years, the landowners have mounted black
flags at their houses since the past one month
As part of their protests over the years, the landowners have mounted black flags at their houses since the past one month Photo | express

NAGAPATTINAM: Residents of three panchayats in the district protesting against land acquisition by the Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL), which is augmenting its refinery capacity, have threatened to boycott the upcoming general election over their demands for “fair” compensation and alternative employment.

As part of plans to expand its refinery unit in the Cauvery basin at Panangudi with a capacity of one million metric tonnes, CPCL is acquiring around 700 acres of land, predominantly from farmers, from Panangudi, Narimanam and Gopurajapuram panchayats under the Land Acquisition Act. The expanded plant is projected to have a capacity of nine million metric tonnes.

The farmers, however, are reluctant to part with their land over the “low” compensation offered. As part of their protests against it over the years, the landowners have mounted black flags at their houses since the past one month. V Sakthivel of Narimanam said, "Many medium, small and marginal farmers are losing their primary source of livelihood due to the land acquisition.

The price they offer is insufficient to find ourselves alternative sources of income. So we are boycotting the election." S Sakthivel, a farmer from Panangudi, said, “We demand a price on a par with that of land acquired for national highway projects. We also demand jobs for family members and alternative pasture land parcels for cattle farming under the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act.” S Kaliyaperumal of Panangudi said,

"Many farm labourers and tenant farmers are losing their livelihood due to the land acquisition for industrial expansion. We demand to fix the land compensation as per the rehabilitation and resettlement Act soon." When contacted, Nagapattinam RDO C Aranganathan said, "A month ago, we met the landowners and residents and assured them fair compensation under the rehabilitation and resettlement Act. Yet, some remain unconvinced. We will again attempt to pacify them."

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