The farmers, who are aggrieved over the State Government’s decision to acquire their land and other properties for the proposed Salem – Chennai green corridor, have every right to raise their voice and launch agitations against the project, as it affects their livelihood to the core, Communist Party of India (CPI) leader R. Nallakannu said here on Sunday.

Both the Centre and the State Government had come down heavily on the farmers, who had expressed dissent by continuously opposing the project, and this was totally unjustified and was against the basic principles of democracy, Mr. Nallakannu told mediapersons in Koomankadu village, about 15 km from the city.

Mr. Nallakannu inspected the land and other properties that have already been surveyed for the expressway project by the Revenue Department officials in Koomankadu, Ramalingapuram and other surrounding villages, and listened to the grievances of the farmers and the local people.

The CPI leader said that when three national highways were already connecting Salem and Chennai, there was no need for the expressway.

A large number of farmers of Salem district, who gave their land for the Salem – Ulundurpet four-lane project more than a decade ago, had not received the compensation they were promised by the government back then.

The current government was luring the farmers with very high compensation, he said, adding, “What is the guarantee that the farmers will receive the whole compensation [amount] announced by the present regime?”

Mr. Nallakannu said the farmers were totally reluctant to give their land, and this could be gauged from their statement that they had no other alternative, but to commit suicide if their properties were acquired against their will.

Stoutly refuting the allegation of Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and Union Minister Pon. Radhakrishnan that the Opposition parties were instigating the farmers, Mr. Nallakannu said that there was nothing wrong in the political parties supporting the just demands of the people. “The Opposition parties are only echoing the views of the entire farming community to protect their interests, and they have got every right to do it in a democratic set-up,” he said. He said the “repressive methods” being adopted by the government, using the police against the people, was a sign of an “undeclared emergency”.

The expressway project was being hurriedly executed for the benefit of corporate concerns, he alleged, adding, “The truth has already started surfacing, and the whole truth will be out soon.”

Mr. Nallakannu said that his party would continue to fight against the eight-lane project and would stand by the aggrieved farmers till the end.

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