Neduvasal – Entire Tamil Nadu is looking with concern towards Neduvasal, that is, entire Tamil Nadu except the so called people’s representatives – MLAs & MPs and their mouthpieces the newspapers and television channels. The protest by Neduvasal villagers against extraction of Hydrocarbons in their village is the focus of attention in social networks and among various sections of society like farmers, students, educated youth.
Members of New Democratic Labour Front – IT Employees Wing working at Tambaram MEPZ planned to conduct a gate meeting to express their solidarity with the people of Neduvasal and to explain this issue to their colleages in IT sector.
Accordingly, messages like “IT Stands With Neduvasal”, ‘Save Neduvasal’, ‘Save Agriculture’, ‘Save Tamilnadu’ and ‘Stop Hydrocarbon extraction’ were shared through Whatsapp, facebook, etc. This publicity received enthusiastic support from many IT employees working in MEPZ and in other places.
On 1st March by 4 PM IT employees started gathering at the traffic island near CTS building. They raised banners and placards declaring solidarity with Neduvasal villagers. Some were busy calling their colleagues asking them to join the campaign. Within a few minutes, a sizable number of employees of both sexes gathered.
It was decided to walk as a procession to the main gate of MEPZ which is about 1 km away and conduct the meeting there. Drivers of buses and workers of factories in MEPZ, looked on with amazement. They would not have thought that IT employees who are generally regarded as aloof from the society are coming out to stand with farmers.
By the time the procession reached the gate, several other IT employees working in MEPZ and from other areas had gather there. They were busy spreading the message and getting more IT employees join.
The gathering lined the left side of the busy GST road holding aloft banners and placards expressing solidarity with Neduvasal people. This attracted the attention of passing vehicles and passers by. Slogans such as “IT Employees Stand with Neduvasal”, “Save Neduvasal”, “Save Agriculture”, “Save Tamil Nadu”, “Stop Hydrocarbon extraction” were raised.
Short speeches were made by the participants on Neduvasal Hydrocarbon project.
“For the last 40 years, in the name of green revolution inorganic fertilizers and pesticides were imposed on farmers to feed the corporate greed; agriculture was gradually crippled. Mr. Nammalvar, an agricultural scientist, dedicated his entire career and life to campaign against this madness and to propagate natural agriculture. We should take him as our role model. The IT companies we work for may move on to other countries in a few years time. We should safeguard out land and agriculture which is the base for our national economy. Agriculture is practiced in Tamilnadu since the very beginning of human civilization. We should not allow such a place to become a graveyard by the projects to extract Methane, Hydrocarbon, etc for the benefit of capitalists. As IT employees, it is our duty to fight against this exploitation and to support those fighting against them.”
While the speech was on, police came in a jeep with blaring siren. They talked sweet and said “Why are you conducting such meetings without getting permission from us? If some outsiders come and oppose you what will happen? If you had got our permission, we would have given you the protection” and asked the gathering to disperse immediately. But, we were aware of what the police did to the protesting students gathered at Valluvar Kottam previous day. Police had also arrested 2 IT employees for distributing pamphlets near Tidel Park.
The employees replied that “We working in IT sector wanted to show our solidarity to the protesting villagers. We have assembled here to bring the farmers’ plight to the attention of the general public without disturbing the traffic”. The talks continued.
“This year the farming crisis has reached new depths. The denial of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu and 65% shortfall in north east monsoon had aggravated farmers’ livelihood crisis. Politicians who carp on development and progress have done nothing worthwhile to provide proper relief to farmers. Neduvasal area is a green and fertile area which yields abundance of crops like coconut, banana etc. But, the farmers lament that their land is plentiful, but they are unable realise remunerative prices for their produce and remain poor. Considering all these facts, the claim of development through these projects by the government is a sham. The state is not even ensuring proper livelihood to the farmers”
“IT employees have the facilities and skills to search and read information on such issues, both from government sources and other place. It is thus important that we ally with the villagers who oppose the Hydrocarbon project based on their own life experience.”
Police started growing impatient and wanted the IT employees to disperse immediately. It was decided to close the meeting with a final announcement
“This gathering shows that the employees of IT employees also have deep concern for issues affecting the vast majority of our population. We should do everything we can to alleviate the distress of our farmers. We have to campaign in social media and in our friends’ circle, collecting donations, etc. Let us add thousands more in the facebook and Whatsapp groups created for this purpose and coordinate.”
“IT Stands with Neduvasal”
“Save Tamil Nadu”,
“Stop Hydrocarbon extraction”.
– News sent by member of New Democratic Labour Front – IT Employees Wing working at Tambaram MEPZ
New Democratic Labour Front – IT Employees Wing is planning to organise similar gatherings of IT employees working in various places. All IT employees are requested to organize gate meeting in their respective places of work and discuss this issue with their colleagues.
Karpaga Vinayagam, Organizer, NDLF IT Employees Wing