An estimated annual food production of 5,300 tonnes of paddy, 3,500 tonnes of sugarcane, oil seeds and vegetables would be lost, if 949 acres of patta land was acquired for the construction of the Chittoor – Thatchur greenfield expressway, NH 716B in Tiruvallur district.
Farmers of Uthukottai, Ponneri and Pallipattu taluks, who would be directly affected by the project have been sending petition after petition seeking relief in the form of cancellation of the project. “This estimate is only for 950 acres of land being directly affected. However, due to the impact on irrigation as canals would be hit, farming activities on 12,000 acres would get affected,” said J. Kumaresan, a farmer of Ponneri.
The proposed access-controlled expressway would also lead to a loss of 221 acres of grazing lands, directly affect 15 lakes and indirectly 12, directly affect 11 ponds and 47 irrigation channels that lead to ayacut areas of 12,000 acres. The loss would be so phenomenal because the proposed road falls between the Araniyar and Kosasthalaiyar rivers that makes the land extremely fertile.
“Over the past few weeks, Revenue Department officials have been conducting public hearings and taking petitions from us. But though over 1,200 persons signed and submitted a petition and individual farmers too have been writing to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and to various agencies concerned, our issues have not been taken into consideration. If the project comes up on our lands, we are staring at a loss of livelihood and food safety for future generations,” said Sridhar, another farmer.
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