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Pattathammal Street residents spell out conditions for giving up land

Women and children at a protest rally in Tiruchi on Tuesday.Photo: M. Moorthy
Residents of Pattathammal Street adjoining Tiruchi-Pudukottai National Highway resorted to a day-long protest on Tuesday, opposing acquisition of their land for the Tiruchi airport expansion project.

Organised by Pattathammal Street Residents Public Welfare Association, around 450 members, including about 300 women and children, took part in the agitation held along the highway and expressed their opposition by covering their mouth with cloth.

The residents staged a similar stir in November last year against acquisition of their patta land by revenue authorities, claiming that it would severely affect their livelihood.

The stir which started at 8 a.m. ended around 5 p.m. A strong posse of police personnel was deployed at the spot as a precautionary measure.

The agitators, who had planned to dump their voter ID cards in garbage bins to express their opposition, gave up the move after permission was denied by law enforcerment officials.

Association president P. Raja said the residents would be willing to give up their patta land — where they had been residing for several years — if the State government gave them revenue land (leased to a city private college) located along Kulavaipatti Road.

The residents wanted the revenue land measuring about 14 acres to be given to them as an alternative site due to its proximity to their existing place of dwelling. “The compensation for our patta lands should be double the market value. It should be paid in a single instalment to enable residents construct a new house at the alternative site,” Mr. Raja said.

The residents also wanted employment on a permanent basis at Airports Authority of India in Tiruchi based on their respective educational qualification.

Mr. Raja said prior to alloting alternative revenue land with DTP approval, the government should provide facilities such as roads, power connection, drinking water and streetlights at the site.

“We have been living here for several years now and patta was issued by the Adi Dravidar and Welfare Department as early as 1972. The State government wants to acquire our land for the airport expansion project. Should they not give us a portion of land that suits us”, he asked.

The residents would be willing to give up their land only if the State government agreed to their demands, he added.

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