Chennai: Farmers in Tiruvannamalai, Salem, Kanchipuram, Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri districts have decided to wage a legal battle against Central government's decision to file an appeal before the Supreme Court, challenging the order of the Madras high court dated April 8, 2019, quashing notifications issued for acquisition of lands for the Rs 10,000 crore Salem-Chennai eight lane highway green field project. Soon after a section of the media reported the government's move on Friday, farmers assembled in Tiruvannamalai and are conducting meetings to discuss the further course of action.
Farmer leaders representing various associations from Tiruvannamalai, Salem, Kanchipuram, Krishnagiri, Chennai and Dharmapuri, led by 8-Vazhi Saalai (Chennai Salem) Yathirpu Iyakka Kootamaippu assembled in Tiruvannamalai on Friday night and are holding discussion with various stakeholders.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, L.Alagesan, joint coordinator, 8-Vazhi Saalai (Chennai Salem) Yathirpu Iyakka Kootamaippu, said, “It is shocking that Central government has approached the apex court challenging theverdict of the Madras high court. We are in the process of discussing with former judges of the Madras high court,advocates, NGOs, farmers' leaders and others. We will decide the future course of action shortly. However, we oppose government's action,” he added.
Another farmer A. Settu of Pulivananthal, Tiruvannamalai district said that the project will affect the livelihood of farmers in seven districts. Government had remained quiet till the announcement of the LS and 22 Assembly by-poll election results and had now approached the apex court. People are angry with the AIADMK due to its anti-peoples' policies. As a result, candidates belonging to the AIADMK and alliance partners lost in the elections for 38 Lok Sabha seat. The state government plans to conduct local body polls and people will give a fitting reply to the AIADMK and its alliance partners in these too, he said.
The state had witnessed massive protests last year over the proposed Greenfield expressway. Farmers and residents had staged a series of protests in several villages accusing government of not consulting them before taking away their agricultural lands and livelihoods. The project traverses through the districts of Chennai, Kanchipuram, Tiruvannamalai, Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri and Salem. The project under the Bharatmala Pariyojana, was proposed by state government with the aim to cut down travel time between Chennai and Salem.
People and activists were shocked over the undue importance given to the project by the Central and State governments and giving it swift approvals last year. The Madras High Court, in an order dated April 8, 2019, quashed the notifications issued for acquisition of lands for the project, a part of the 'Bharatmala Pariyojana', a project conceived by the Central government. Challenging the verdict, the Central government has approached the apex court now.
In a statement issued in Chennai on Friday, Ramadoss said that the PMK had been opposing the project as it was unnecessary as there were three highways connecting Chennai and Salem and one national highway was being converted into a four-lane road between Vaniambadi and Salem....