Parties vying to take credit for stalling the project

As the election campaign is picking up the pace in Thanjavur Lok Sabha constituency, the main contenders, AIADMK and DMK, exchanged heated arguments over the proposed methane extraction project in the Cauvery delta districts.

R. Vaithilingam, Housing and Urban Development minister, who campaigned for AIADMK candidate K. Parasuraman in Thanjavur town on Tuesday, said the DMK was adopting double standards with respect to the proposed methane extraction project.

“In January 2011, the then Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Great Eastern Energy Corporation Limited to extract methane in some areas of Thanjavur and Tiruvarur districts.

Now, in the poll manifesto, they say that the project should be reconsidered.” But Chief Minister Jayalalithaa passed a stay order and appointed an expert committee to go into details and submit its report.

On March 6, she said in Nagapattinam that the State government would not allow any project that would jeopardise the livelihood of people in the delta districts, Mr. Vaithilingam said.

The minister pointed out that several agitations were held in the region against the project, including those led by the late G. Nammalvar, organic farming expert. The project, if implemented, would affect Orathadu, Pattukottai, Thanjavur, Mannargudi, and Needamangalam falling under Thanjavur Lok Sabha constituency, he said.

T.R. Baalu, DMK candidate for Thanjavur Lok Sabha constituency, speaking at Madukkur, said he would oppose the project. Apart from the main contenders, only CPI (M) has announced the candidate for Thanjavur Lok Sabha constituency.

S. Tamil Selvi, district secretary of AIDWA is the CPI(M) candidate for Thanjavur Lok Sabha constituency. The project envisages extracting methane from about 695 sq km of land in Thanjavur and Tiruvarur districts.

Drilling will be done in 2,000 places and hydraulic fracturing method will be followed.