Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL)’s pipeline project is set to acquire lands in Sivadi village, but the residents (led by the P. Shanmugam, State Secretary, Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam and Dilli Babu, CPI(M)’s ex-MLA of Harur) staged a day-long sit-in protest last week on the Collectorate campus.

The HPCL project has plans to install a 697km pipeline from Vijayawada to Dharmapuri, which will culminate in a storage terminal in Sivadi village at Nallampalli block of Dharmapuri. The project proposes to acquire 123 acres in Sivadi village, which is predominantly a Scheduled Caste village and marginal landholdings by the people.

But farmers affected by the pipeline storage terminal project at Sivadi village have staged a sit-in protest on the Collectorate campus in Dharmapuri. They are trying to persuade the government to reverse the proposed land acquisition for the storage terminal in Sivadi village.

The farmers’ association has called for a written undertaking from the administration that no further activity will be undertaken towards acquisition of lands.

Speaking at the protest, Mr. Shanmugam said the farmers’ association met Industries Secretary Muruganandam recently and insisted on an alternative site for the project. According to Mr. Shanmugam, the Secretary of Industries had indicated that there were lands available in SIPCOT industrial estate and those lands could be used for the project.

He said: “The project affected residents were Scheduled Castes with marginal holdings of half acre and 1 acre. Their lands cannot be taken away.”

The project had already run into opposition last year, soon after the farmers started receiving notices of the proposed acquisition of their lands. Multiple protests and representations by the project affected public and organised by the Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sagam have taken place.

The farmers’ association also called for a change of site within Dharmapuri, stating that there were adequate government porombokke lands and those lands that were kept idle after acquisition for a SIPCOT industrial estate that was yet to see fruition.

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14th March 2020