Chennai: Frivolous agitations such as the one against installation of the high tension (HT) Transmission Towers is stalling development and the much needed power for Tamil Nadu, Electricity Minister P. Thangamani has said on Friday. TN will get 4,000 MW power directly from Chhattisgarh when this project comes through, he said defending the project facing resistance from farmers and political parties.
Replying to a special attention motion moved by the opposition parties in the Assembly House, he said this ‘corridor’ was already on in other States including Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and there was opposition only in Tamil Nadu. Averring that his government was prepared to hold talks with the agitating farmers of the 13 districts in which the project area falls, Mr. Thangamani ruled out laying underground HT cables, as sought by the ‘incited’ farmers or opposition party members, since such a technology did not exist anywhere or even in the US.
“After a seven-year struggle by late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, we got power from Chhattisgarh for which the transmission corridor is required as Tamil Nadu is a developing State and to meet the requirement for power,” he insisted. “Such protests, being witnessed now, will only result in a loss for Tamil Nadu,” Mr. Thangamani said.
The farmers have been on a continuous protest against the erection of HT Transmission Towers in farmlands including Salem, Erode, Tiruppur, Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts, involving a total distance of 1,766 km. The project is being executed by the Power Grid Corporation of India and Tangedco.
Mr Thangamani said the towers were being installed to receive 6,000 MW power from Chhattisgarh and out of this, Tamil Nadu would get 4,000 MW while remaining 2,000 MW would be facilitated to Kerala. He argued that such HT towers were installed in farmlands during the previous DMK regimes from 1996 to 2001 and 2006 to 2011 and also during the AIADMK regimes. “But, then the farmers did not stage any protests. Now they are apparently being instigated,” he said without naming anyone. The protests, he said, were being instigated with the sole aim of bringing “disrepute” to the ruling AIADMK in the western parts of Tamil Nadu.
Earlier, speaking on the motion, Leader of the Opposition and DMK president M. K. Stalin demanded the government to opt for underground cables rather than laying overhead lines....