Farmers demand amendment to stall GAIL project

Farmers demand amendment to stall GAIL project

With the Supreme Court dismissing a fresh review petition filed against its order permitting the Gas

Authority of India to lay pipelines through farm lands in western Tamil Nadu, a section of farmers has

called for amending laws to safeguard their agricultural lands.

“Unless necessary farmer-friendly amendments are made in the Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines

(Acquisition of Right of User in Land) Act, any number of petitions filed by farmers against the laying of

gas pipelines through farm lands are going to be dismissed,” said S. R. Madhusoothanan, co-ordinator of

Tamil Nadu Farmers’ Livelihood Protection Committee, which has been in the forefront of the agitation

against the GAIL project.

“The need of the hour is that the Government should come forward either with a separate legislation or

suitable amendments in the PMP Act which prevents laying of pipelines on any farm land,” he added.

“This (laying of pipelines through farm lands) would not have happened if the Centre had taken

cognisance of the farmers’ concerns and vetoed GAIL’s plans to lay its pipelines on farmlands in the first

place. We will die than allow the pipeline on our farmlands,” said Srinivasa Reddy, a farmer. He would

be left with marginal holding of 1.5 acres if the project came through.

Srinivasa Reddy’s farms will be among the 50 acres that would be lost in Chinnabelugondapalli village in

Poonapalli Panchayat bordering Karnataka. “The court is unaware of the fact that bare 10 per cent

guideline compensation will mean nothing to farmlands since they don’t operate like real estate plots.

No cultivation will be possible,” he says.


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