The sell out

august 2001: Tamil Nadu government announces the Comprehensive Wasteland Development Project (CWDP) in its 2001-2002 budget for developing 20 lakh hectares (ha).

September 2001: Separate authority called Tamil Nadu Watershed Development Agency (TAWDEV) constituted to monitor the project.

May 2002: Operational guidelines based on Union rural development ministry's participatory watershed development programme approved.

July 2002: State government gives go-ahead for leasing of wasteland to corporates. Chief Minister (CM) J Jayalalithaa announces wasteland development scheme in the interactive session of the Confederation of Indian Industry in Chennai.

August 2002: Activist bodies and farmers' groups convene meet to protest against the CWDP.

October 2002: Panchayats pass resolution against the project.

December 2002: Mass rallies in front of collectorates in various districts by farmers. CM asks collectors to speed up the process of identifying wastelands.

January 2003: Villagers intensify stir against scheme. State government announces that only 55,000 ha of private land will be leased. Further, the scheme would cover unused community wasteland. Government prepared to lease out wasteland to self-help groups if they are ready to invest.

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