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PMK attacks Stalin over land acquisition for Neyveli Lignite Corp

Chennai, Feb 1 (IANS) Tamil Nadu’s PMK on Wednesday said that it would undertake a series of agitations against land acquisition by the Neyveli Lignite Corporation India Ltd (NLCIL).

PMK state President Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss, in a statement, said that Chief Minister M.K. Stalin was acting diametrically opposite stand on farmers’ welfare. He said that while the Tamil Nadu government under Stalin presented a separate budget for agriculture, it was against the interests of the farmers in several projects.

Ramadoss, a former Union Minister, said that the farmers were the worst sufferers in the projects like SIPCOT, the textile park by Southern India Mill’s Association (SIMA), the Neyveli Lignite Corporation India Ltd (NLCIL) and other projects.

He charged two ministers of the ruling DMK were playing second fiddle to the NLCIL authorities for their expansion projects and added that the DMK and the Chief Minister were solely responsible for the plight of the farmers as the government was hand in glove with the company for acquiring land of the farmers. He said that PMK would oppose this by all force.

Ramadoss said that the NLCIL has now tied up with a private company to evaluate the lignite deposits around Veeranam lake without taking into account the livelihood of the local people. He said that the areas surrounding the lake where the evaluation has been declared as a protected agricultural zone.

He said that the farmers fear NLCIL will set up mines in the area and that environmental degradation started after the NLCIL set its foot in the area. He alleged that the NLCIL took over around 36,000 acres from the landowners and sucked out groundwater from 44 villages in Cuddalore district, and groundwater levels have seen a steep decrease from eight feet to 1,000 feet now.

He said that the party will conduct a series of agitations if the Cuddalore district administration did not end acquiring lands for the NLCIL.