Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Sunday said only a minuscule percentage of farmers had opposed the acquisition of land for the proposed 277-km Chennai-Salem eight-lane expressway, PTI reported.

“Four to five among 100 farmers are refusing to give their land,” he told reporters at Salem airport. “A majority of farmers had voluntarily given their land for the corridor.”

Palaniswami said the green corridor was important as the number of vehicles had more than doubled and that it was “the duty of the government to build roads”. The Centre would build the corridor while the state government would only assist it, the chief minister added.

Palaniswami said his government would provide adequate compensation to the farmers “unlike the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam regime”. The government would provide land and construct green houses for farmers with small land holdings, he added.

The Rs 10,000 crore project has faced massive opposition as thousands of hectares of agricultural land and several hectares of forest land – cutting across five districts and eight reserved forests – have to be acquired.

Activist Piyush Manush, actor Mansoor Ali Khan, and student activist Valarmathi were arrested on June 18 for protesting against the project. The DMK on Tuesday warned the state government of statewide protests if the police conduct random searches and arrest villagers agitating against government projects.

Cauvery water management

On the Cauvery matter, the chief minister said Karnataka had not nominated its representative to the Cauvery Water Management Authority and the Cauvery Water Regulatory Committee.

Palaniswami said the Cauvery Water Regulatory Committee would take steps to release water to Tamil Nadu every month, and the water management authority would monitor the whole process. On June 1, the Centre notified the formation of the Cauvery Water Management Authority in compliance with a Supreme Court order on the water dispute, which also involves Kerala and Puducherry.