Farmers whose lands are being acquired at 43 Panapakkam village in Uthukottai taluk were asked to come to the taluk office for land documents verification by the district revenue officer on Friday morning.
Agitated over the continued indifference of the State and the central government officials in considering their opposition to the land acquisition, the farmers boycotted the proceedings on Friday morning as the DRO was not present. The farmers alleged that the proposed expressway being laid on acquiring 85 per cent of fertile lands in the taluk where most of the farmers grown three crops of paddy a year depending on the tank irrigation.
Seshadri (39), one of the affected farmers, said he has been in agriculture for the past 15 years. “After finishing my graduation, I started working in my 2.5 acres of land. Now the NHAI is taking over 1.5 acres of the land and it would completely destroy my livelihood. At this age, I cannot go and find a job to support my family,” he rued.
Another farmer said, immediately after the land acquisition notification was issued in October 2018, the farmers registered their opposition to it but it was rejected. “In March 2019, a peace meeting was held by the district collector along with TNPCB official and we explained the reasons for our opposition but the project was not cancelled. The expressway passed over 13 lakes and tanks and one river. When it passed over the lakes and tanks, the connecting canals would be destroyed affecting the irrigation of the agricultural land. The whole region would be affected by it,” Seshadri said, adding that an alternative alignment suggested by the farmers were not even considered by the officials.
PMK founder DR S Ramadoss on Friday opposed the alignment of the expressway project which seeks to pass through fertile agricultural land.