14 June 2010
CUDDALORE: Members of the Coordination Committee of the Affected Farmers’ Forum and the Communist Party of India (CPI) gathered at Vellingarayanpettai near here on Sunday and protested against fencing of lands acquired by private companies for setting up power plants and mini-ports.
Those who led the protest included Shanmugham, forum president, and T. Manivasgam, district secretary of the CPI.
They told The Hindu that the private companies had engaged agents for acquiring farm lands.
The agents had already acquired 900 acres, spanning across 12 villages including Vellingarayanpettai, Villiyanur and Kothattai, at the cost of Rs. 4 lakh an acre. For further land acquisition, they had started offering Rs. 8 lakh an acre.
The price difference had put the farmers who had already sold their lands, in dismay. They have started demanding parity in price and settlement of the difference in the amount. The protest was aimed at preventing the companies from fencing the acquired lands.
Police and revenue officials dispersed the protestors with a promise that tripartite talks would be held at Chidambaram on June 23 to resolve the issue.
However, contractors engaged in erecting the fence said that they were not privy to the issue and would not participate in the talks. It was their contention that it was the lookout of the companies concerned.
Meanwhile, Mr. Manivasagam said fishermen too protested against the proposal to set up mini-ports, which they feared would curtail their traditional pursuit besides endangering marine life.
He also said acquisition of vast stretches of once fertile lands had thrown thousands of farm labourers out of job.