South Indian Farmers consultation says no to land acquisition for private purposes. For the demands of the South India Farmers Federation on the proposed land acquisition bills, visit http://siccfm.blogspot.com/2011/07/no-to-land-acquisition-for-private.html.
Click on the link to visit the article by students of Asian College of Journalism in Chennai who had visited the area during the hunger strike: http://na.acjnewsline.org/Groupc/Webpages/Adrija/Thervoy%20struggle.html
Kindly sign the on-line signature petition hosted by ICCA Alert page in support of Thervoy Kandigai struggle at: http://www.iccaforum.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=101&Itemid=114
Suprement Court has delivered a landmark judgment restoring people’s rights over common land. More from Down to earth magazine…
On 9 August 2010, SIPCOT obtained Environmental Clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests. As part of “Part A – Specific Conditions — Construction Phase”, it is clearly mentioned that “Consent to Establish shall be obtained from Tamil Nadu State Pollution Control Board under Air and Water Act and a copy submitted to the Ministry before start of any construction work at the site”. However SIPCOT has already commenced construction without obtaining Consent to Establish as stated in the environmental clearance. Violation of the Environmental Protection Act, 1986 and of Air and Water Acts are prosecutable offences.
While Michelin India tyre company has been given consent to establish on 28/9/2010 by Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, there is no indication that an environmental clearance has been given to the company.
Even in the past, for the same project SIPCOT has violated the EIA notification 2006 by constructing borewells at the proposed site(between 6-7th April 2010) prior to the Environmental Public hearing which was held on 30th April 2010. A complaint was filed in this regard with the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and MOEF on 8/4/2010, but no action was taken by the concerned authorities. Prior to this, in 2009, SIPCOT had cleared the dense vegetation in the area which was halted by the affected villages of Thervoy Kandigai through a Madras High Court injunction. SIPCOT is a repeat offender and has not violated the EIA notification 2006, but also Hon’ble Madras High Court order dated 16/9/2009 (Writ Petition No. 9319 of 2009 and Contempt Petition No. 802 of 2009).
Complaints have been registered with MOEF and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board on these violations demanding
1. Withdrawal of the Environmental Clearance for the above project.
2. Launch prosecution proceedings against the Directors of SIPCOT under Environmental Protection Act and Air and Water Acts.
3. Reject SIPCOT’s application for Consent to Establish for its failure to honour its own undertaking to follow the law and for its failure to comply with the environmental clearance stipulated.
On 25/2/2011, the 8 men arrested on 15/5/2011 were released on bail late in the evening. They are back in the village.
On 23/2/2011, a group of bureacrats, activists, artists, students, and solidarity group from Salem visited Thervoy Kandigai where people were busy doing NREGA work and working in their fields. The mood was upbeat, very spirited and people said that their struggle will continue till they get back the grazing land. Meanwhile all work has stopped at the SIPCOT/Michelin site as assured by the District Collector.
Photographs taken when the group visited the site:
(Courtesy: Professor Marx, People’s Union for Human Rights)
In the evening of 21/2/2011, Thiruvallur the District Collector visited the hunger strikers (many of whom had fallen sick after fasting for 7 days) and assured them ‘response’ from the govt in 10 days. He asked villagers to wait 10 days and if they don’t see any response from the govt. to their demands then to continue with their agitation. While the villagers were not too optimistic about the DC’s assurances, they villages have decided to call off the strike and wait for 10 days to give the ‘government a chance’ to respond.
PRESS RELEASE: 6th day of indefinite hunger fast by 1200 villagers of Thervoy Kandigai; TN govt. turns a blind eye, threatens people with arrests
Chennai, 21.2.2011: For past 6 days over 1200 women, men and children of Thervoy Kandigai village in Gummidipoondi Taluk of Thiruvallur District have been on an indefinite hunger fast. They started their fast on 16.2.2011 with the following demands:
- SIPCOT industrial park project in Thervoy Kandigai village be immediately cancelled
- Denotification of revenue department GO 650 and transfer of 1127 acres of meikkal poromboke land in survey no.s 32/2 and 33/2 to Thervoy Kandigai panchayat
- Immediate and unconditional release of all 8 jailed villagers
- Withdrawal of all false charges against 61 villagers arrested in 2009.
Since 2007, villagers have been peacefully protesting, petitioning, meeting with government officials to highlight their plight. But to no avail. In January 2009, 61 of the villagers were arrested and jailed for protesting.
Villagers have appealed at every possible democratic forum available to them, including in the environmental public hearing held in April 2010, where over 1000 people opposed the project. But their opposition was ignored and environmental clearance was accorded to the project in August 2010. While the villager’s appeal against Environmental Clearance remains pending with yet to be constituted central National Green Tribunal, SIPCOT has been constructing at the project site.
On 14.2.2011, over 500 women from the village entered the project site demanding SIPCOT to stop construction, when an understanding was mediated by the Tahsildar and DSP Gummidipoondi. A document was signed assuring that SIPCOT will not carry out any further construction till 23rd February when the District Collector will visit the village. But on 15.2.2011, 8 villagers were arrested and jailed by Gummidipoondi police based false complaints foisted by SIPCOT. They are still languishing in Ponneri sub-jail.
The proposed project site was being used as grazing land (prior to SIPCOT acquisition) as well as for afforestation programmes. It was part of the common property resource of the village. Most of the villagers here are small and marginal farmers and depend on the meikkal poromboke land for supplementary livelihood which is essential for their survival. They have small landholdings in which they cultivate paddy, ragi, groundnut and chillies. The only source of water for agriculture are three eris, entirely fed by water from the catchment area of the meikkal poromboke lands in survey nos 32/2 and 33/2. Besides being an important water catchment area, this land also provided important medicinal herbs, wild fruit and plants which are consumed by the villagers and are an important source of sustenance during droughts.
Joining the protesting villagers and representative of Thervoy Kandigai Munnetra Nala Sangam at the press conference representatives of Communist Party of India, Republic Party of India, Dalit Mannurimai Kootamaippu, Sirapu Porulaathara Mandala Edirppu Iyakkam, Peoples’ Union of Human Rights condemned the forcible land transfer and government apathy toward the hunger strikers.
For information contact: Gautam, Thervoy Kandigai Munnetra Nala Sangam (9787515437); Madhumita, SPMEI (9444390240); Nicholas, Dalit Mannurimai Kootamaippu (9443241130)