Land subsidence resulting from Natural Gas development in Krishna Godavari Basin is likely to have an adverse impact on agricultural lands in the delta region and the State's economy, according to former Energy Secretary E. A. S. Sarma.

Advocating the need for caution and urgent action, the retired IAS Officer, in a recent letter to the Chief Minister K. Rosaiah, felt that unless the Government woke up quickly to this reality and took urgent pre-emptive measures to stop further gas development work, it would wreak havoc on the State’s economy, as the Delta districts contributed significantly to the food security of the State.

“I am not sure whether your officers have briefed you on a Writ Petition (WP 13341/2008) filed on the subject by the Delta farmers before the A.P. High Court and the interim order issued by the latter that the Central Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) should get the project appraised afresh to assess the adverse implications of land subsidence”.

“There is enough technical data and empirical evidence to suggest that the fears expressed by the Delta farmers have significant justification. Already, there have been signs of land near the gas development work sinking and the local water sources becoming saline,” Dr. Sarma said in the letter.

He also expressed surprise at the attitude of the State Government in putting forward the public concerns in the matter before the High Court in the case. Instead of adopting a stand in favour of what is good for the State in the long run, the State seemed to be passively supporting RIL’s stand, knowing well that land subsidence, if it is already taking place, will destroy agriculture in the three districts, he noted.

Urging the Chief Minister to get this matter investigated thoroughly by independent experts, he said that pending such investigation, all further gas development activity in the KG Basin must be stopped.

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