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Paliapattu Farmers Oppose Construction of SIPCOT Industrial Park

Thousands of farmers in Paliapattu stated their concern that, if implemented, the project would have an impact on farming and the lives of those who rely on it.

Binita Kumari
Tamil Nadu State Industries Promotion Corporation (SIPCOT)
Tamil Nadu State Industries Promotion Corporation (SIPCOT)

Thousands of farmers in Paliapattu, near Tiruvannamalai, have been protesting for months against the proposed industrial park being developed by the Tamil Nadu State Industries Promotion Corporation (SIPCOT). They stated their concern that, if implemented, the project would have an impact on farming and the lives of those who rely on it. 

They said that the movement began in December 2021, when revenue department officials inspected their property in Paaliapattu, a panchayat in Chengam Taluk, three kilometers from Tiruvannamalai town, but that no official responded with positive news. 

"We oppose the idea because the soil in Paaliapattu and the neighboring villages has been fertilized by generations of farmers. If the government acquires these lands for industrial purposes, farming will collapse, compelling local farmers to forsake their farms and seek other employment" said B Sampath, one of SIPCOT Ethirpu Vivasaya Makkal Iyakkam's members. 

Over 4,600 agrarian families farm paddy, sugarcane, flowers, and vegetables in this area, according to Sampath, who also stated that they have not experienced water shortages, depletion, or contamination of groundwater levels.

However, they are concerned about such a problem if the project is built on farmland, said another farmer. 

Residents from Puthiya colony, Arunthathiyar area, Chinna Punalkadu, Mariamman Nagar, Anna Nagar, Selvapuram, Vaniyambadi, Periya Punalkadu, and Chinna Paaliapattu, among other villages, staged protests, brought the issue up in farmers' grievances meetings, and picketed government offices, but to no avail. 

In response to the situation, director and screenwriter Lenin Bharathi stated that he is on the side of the farmers and supports the protesting farmers.

"Fertile areas must be safeguarded. While industrial development is possible, it should not have a negative impact on the environment," said the director. 

He cited the DMK's election manifesto, stating that the party had stated that acquiring farmlands and turning them for other uses without the approval of farmers would be prohibited and that the State government should consider putting this into effect right now. 

Tiruvannamalai Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) Vetrivel said it is a State government project and Tiruvannamalai is one among the districts where the SIPCOT is expected to be constructed when approached. However, the project location within the district has not yet been finalized. 

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