Chennai: There has not been any progress in the talks between farmer representatives and State government on the project to install high tension transmission towers on agriculture lands in 13 districts in the State. While state electricity minister P. Thangamani offered to return to the negotiation table assuring to help the farmers, the latter insist their two demands be conceded immediately.
"We have urged the government to provide rent for the HT Transmission Towers already established in the project area and demanded that the remaining area be covered by underground cables. But the Minister has not given any assurance," says P. Shanmugam, state general secretary of Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam.
The rentals, Mr Shanmugam said could be provided to the farm owners like the payment given for installing cellphone towers. Regarding the underground cables, he said 400 KV lines could be laid. "But the minister declined saying laying of underground cables was not feasible. He however agreed to convey our demand for rental to the Centre and also help get more compensation for the affected farmers. But we were not satisfied with the talks," Mr Shanmugam told this correspondent.
The authorities felt that underground cables could not be laid for short distances and being a central government project it is unlikely that the centre would accept the suggestion. Moreover, the cost of the project would go up as the government would be forced to install connecting towers between two 400 KV cables.
After nearly two weeks of protests from seven venues across the state, the farmers participated in the parleys at the Secretariat here on Thursday. Similar talks were held on June 27 and December 6, 2018, but to no avail. The issue echoed in the Assembly on Friday when the Opposition parties including the DMK moved a special call attention motion to discuss the farmers' plight....