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Demand Michelin stops building Industrial Tyre Complex on 1127 acres of local communitiy land

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Signthis petition to demand SIPCOT immediately cancels the construction of Michelin's Industrial Tyre Complex, returns 1127 acres of grazing land back to the local community, compensates the communities for the destruction of their forest and drops the charges against 61 villagers arrested in protest in 2009.

The State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamilnadu has designated 1127 acres of common property forest and grazing lands in Thervoy Kandigai village, 50 km north of Chennai in the Thiruvallur District, for an industrial complex as part of a development agreement with the French corporation Michelin.

The villagers who have protected this earmarked ‘Michelin’ land for generations are now on the verge of watching it being snatched from under their feet. If this development goes ahead, it will not only dramatically endanger the livelihood of around 5000 people of Thervoy Kandigai village and the surrounding villages, but will most likely cause irreversible ecological damage. Over 90% of Thervoy Kandigai inhabitants belong to scheduled castes/scheduled tribes and are predominantly landless or tillers of small and marginal farms. They depend upon the community meikkal poromboke (grazing land) for their cattle which in many cases is their only source of income and is essential for their livelihoods. This land was also a successful site for afforestation under the village community forest programmes, but SIPCOT has already deforested 1000 of 1127 acresto make room for the Michelin plant – a fact that threw the local residents in disarray. Of equal concern is the effect upon the water systems within the area the Industrial complex would bring. The three eris (natural lakes) that supply water for over 3500 acres of agricultural land could eventually dry up due to the removal of forest cover once the complex is built. The residents who depend so heavily upon the forest, the grazing land and a clean water supply, will therefore undeniably lose their livelihoods. These forests, which could soon be replaced by this proposed tyre factory, are located in the catchment area of the Araniyar River: a major source of drinking water for the surrounding villages, as well as significant sections of Chennai city.

The forest is also a pharmacy for the villagers in that they use wild plants as a form of natural medicine. “We don’t have hospitals in this area, we depend on our forest to cure us”, said local village youth Gautama. The people have done hunger strikes, demonstrations and many spent time in jail... they are adamant they will not let the development go ahead, but the government is equally determined to continue. International pressure may now make a difference.

Sign this petition to demand to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and the Chairman/Managing Director of SIPCOT that:

The foreseen Michelin Industrial Complex in Thervoy Kandigai is immediately cancelled;
The Revenue Department's Government Order GO 650 transferring 1127 acres of grazing commons to SIPCOT is annulled and lands is returned to the Panchayat for community use;
The communities are compensated because of the destruction of their forest and charges against 61 villagers arrested in 2009 are dropped.

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The ICCA Consortium Kalpavriksh Environmental Group


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