India: Krishnagiri district farmers protest against gas pipelines

The farmers of Krishnagiri district protested in front of the collector’s office against the laying of pipelines through their fertile farm lands by the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL), also known as the Kochi-Koottanad-Bengaluru-Mangalore Pipeline project (KKBMPL).

The farmers, under the leadership of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), submitted a memorandum to the district collector to implement the project along the national highways without affecting the agricultural lands. The project runs about 45 km in the district, damaging around 1,100 acres of agricultural lands. The farmers of Thirupur district too held a demonstration on Tuesday against the project.

The small and marginal farmers belonging to about 19 villages in the district are being affected by the KKBMPL. The pipelines are laid in such a way that the farmers have been denied the permission to do any sort of agricultural work in the 35-feet stretch on either side of the pipelines. This makes 70 feet wide area from the land they own inaccessible. Considering the fact that these farmers own small pieces of land, their livelihood gets severely affected. quoted the district secretary of AIKS, Prakash, as saying: “The GAIL pipeline laying project is affecting thousands of farmers of the district. The pipelines are being laid in the fertile lands of the district resulting in severe loss to the farmers. Around 10,000 mango and coconut trees are to be cut down for the project. The pipeline runs through the banks of the Thepennai River, which is supposed to cause severe environmental impact.”

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