People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 39

September 30, 2012





Over 1 Lakh Farmers Participate

in Struggle for Land Rights


S P Rajendran


MORE than one lakh peasants and agricultural workers staged demonstrations and sit-in protests in front of the taluka offices in Tamilnadu on September 26 demanding pattas for those who have been living on the government poramboke lands.


At all the places, farmers’ representatives presented petitions demanding distribution of pattas to tenants on government poramboke lands, temple and trust lands. CPI(M) MLAs K Balakrishnan and A Lazar, leaders of Tamilnadu Kisan Sabha, P Shanmugam and G Mani and leaders of  AIAWU led the statewide protests that were staged in over 100 centres.


Addressing the gathering at Atthur in Salem district, P Shanmugam, general secretary of Tamilnadu Kisan Sabha, said that even house site pattas were not given to many beneficiaries for a long time. Real beneficiaries have been languishing in miserable conditions. They should be protected and their rights should be ensured, he demanded.


This protest agitation was titled ‘kathiruppu poratam’ (protest till we get pattas) and at many places the protest lasted for about 6 hours. The protesters sat in front of the taluk offices and cooked food and ate on the platform. And then the officials concerned addressed and received petitions from the protesters.





The Madras High Court Bench dismissed the anticipatory bail applications of Durai alias Dayanithi Alagiri, son of union minister M K Alagiri and a few others allegedly involved in the multi-crore granite quarry scam in Madurai district.


Justice T Mathivanan hearing the petition on September 25 refused to grant the anticipatory bail to most of the accused except a woman applicant Shanthi Selvaraj, wife of P K Selvaraj of Sindhu Granites, on the ground that there was little material available to prove her active involvement in the alleged crime.


The judge declined the petitioners’ plea following vehement objections raised by Advocate General A Navaneethakrishnan as well as Supreme Court senior lawyer Ranjit Kumar engaged by the state government to oppose the anticipatory bail applications.


Filing a status report on the investigation conducted so far with respect to the case registered against Dayanithi, the counsel said that Olympus Granites, a company in which he was a Director, had indulged in illegal quarrying in Melur taluk since 2006.


He was accused of exploiting the mineral by encroaching upon lands belonging to the government as well as Tamilnadu Minerals Limited (TAMIN), a State-run entity, situated adjacent to his leased lands, thereby causing a huge loss to the public exchequer.


One of the 18 teams constituted by Madurai Collector Anshul Mishra last month to inspect all the 175 granite quarries in the district found that Olympus Granites had quarried only 468.243 cubic metres from its lease lands but had transported 2292.814 cubic metres of granite. Stating that the market value of multi-coloured granite was around Rs 30,000 per cubic metre, the prosecution claimed that Olympus Granites had illegally gained Rs 44 crore for which the seignior-age fee liable to be paid to the government was Rs 3.2 crore at the rate of Rs 2210 per cubic metre.


The offence was committed with the active connivance of a few TAMIN officials and three of them — P Manoharan, Senior Project Manager, C Jawahar, Project Manager and N Ragupathy, officer in-charge of Mining — had already confessed to the crime, claimed the prosecution. “The petitioner/accused (Dayanithi) is a politically influential person. Yet, the witnesses have come forward to expose the commission of offence following the change of (state) government and upon the confidence in steps taken by the government,” the status report read.





Over 3 lakh shops in Chennai planted black flags on their rooftops on September 25 in a symbolic protest against the UPA-II government’s decision to allow 51 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, said the president of Tamilnadu Vanikar Sankhankalin Peramaippu, A M Vikramaraja.


Black flags flew high on several shops in areas such as Adambakkam, T Nagar, Koyambedu, Triplicane, Parry’s Corner, Egmore, K K Nagar and Ekkaduthangal. “Despite our protests, the government has gone ahead with its decision. This has deeply hurt the trading community. I don’t understand why we have to follow in the footsteps of the US and permit FDI here,” he said. The black flags will continue to fly for another seven days till October 7, he added.


“We plan to burn the government order on October 2 to protest against the decision,” said Vikramaraja.