Tamil Nadu Farmers Oppose Towers on Fertile Land, Allege Violation of Electricity Act

Reported by

NeerajhaLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

July 2, 2021

Location of Conflict

Tiruppur, Erode, Namakkal, Salem, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Karur, Vellore, Tiruvannamalai and Vizhuppuram districts

Coimbatore

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Transmission Lines

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

ha

Starting Year

2015

State

Tamil Nadu

Sector

Power

The Power Grid Corporation of India Limited and the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited had proposed a Highvoltage Direct Current project to transmit electricity from Raigarh in Chhattisgarh via Tiruppur district in Tamil Nadu to Thrissur in Kerala. The project, which requires the laying of hightension cables and construction of towers, was proposed to supply uninterrupted power to nearly 80 million people. The governments plan was to transmit electricity over a distance of 1,800 kilometres via 900 transmission towers to be erected in Tamil Nadu alone. The project was approved by the Ministry of Power in 2014. Since its approval, farmers from 13 districts of the state have been protesting against the project. They claim that electric cables and towers could affect their livelihood as such structures reduce the value of land and make it difficult for farmers to avail loans, in addition to health hazards. The farmers have so far submitted many petitions to district officials and the state government but have not been invited for any dialogue; neither has there been any inquiry. During a few incidents of land inspection by officials, farmers reported unwarranted behaviour by police officials, such as breaking locks to enter farmlands and permitting officials to inspect lands without the permission of the land owners. They further allege that the police misbehaved with women. Police have also arrested protesting farmers. On September 13, 2019, police detained 67 people, including 20 women, who were protesting against the project in Dharapuram tehsil. They were later released. The farmers have suggested laying the transmission wires underground. On another note, the Madras High Court had suggested the state government to consider laying of underground cables to neutralise health impacts such as cancer and to reduce transmission losses. The farmers have also demanded equal compensation for all and periodic rent for usage of the fertile land, as outlined in The Electricity Act, 2003. Currently, the state offers 85 per cent guideline value for lands where towers would be erected and 15 per cent guideline value for plots over which transmission lines would pass through. Farmers have also opposed the usage of colonialera laws, such as the Indian Telegraph Act of 1885, to acquire land or construct towers on agricultural land. 

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Refusal to give up land for the project, Complaint against procedural violations, Demand for compensation

Region Classification

Urban and Rural

Type of Land

Private

Type of Common Land

Total investment involved (in Crores):

1500

Type of investment:

Investment Expected

Year of Estimation

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Other, Land Acquisition Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Legal Status:

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Madras High Court

Case Number

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Arrest/detention/imprisonment, Sexual violence/sexual harassment, Raid/break-in/theft

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

Police arrested 67 people, including 20 women, who were protesting against the project. They were later released. The farmers allege that the police broke locks to enter farmlands and let officials inspect the lands without the permission of the land owners. They further allege that the police misbehaved with women.

Date of Violation

September 13, 2019

Location of Violation

Dharapuram tehsil

Nature of Protest

Protests/marches, Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
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Documented By

Neerajha

Reviewed By

Neerajha

Updated By

Neerajha

Edited By

NeerajhaLand Conflict Watch
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