Puducherry

Govt. won't allow hydrocarbon projects in U.T. at any cost, says Puducherry CM

Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy and Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister R. Kamalakkannan jointly addressing a press conference

Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy and Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister R. Kamalakkannan jointly addressing a press conference   | Photo Credit: T. Singaravelou

Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy said his government would not allow the hydrocarbon projects to take off as they would affect the livelihood of farmers and fishermen

Taking strong exception to Centre’s decision to grant permission for hydrocarbon exploration projects in Puducherry and Karaikal regions without getting the consent of the territorial administration, Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy on Tuesday said his government would not allow the projects to take off “at any cost” as they would affect the livelihood of farmers and fishermen.

“If needed, we ourselves will protest against the hydrocarbon projects in the Union Territory. The territory is already under threat due to sea water intrusion and the deep drilling for extracting hydrocarbon will further cause environmental degradation. The project will not be allowed at any cost,” he said, addressing a press conference along with Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare R. Kamalakannan. He accused the Centre of working as an agent of the Vedanta Group.

Questioning the intention of the Union Government in choosing Puducherry and Tamil Nadu for exploration, the Chief Minister sought to know from the Centre why it did not include North Indian States for such a project.

Recalling his letters to the Union Home Minister and Minister for Petroleum informing them of his government’s decision not to implement the hydrocarbon project, Mr. Narayanasamy said the Centre’s decision to go ahead with the project without getting the clearance of his government was an infringement on the rights of States.

The Chief Minister said he received a communication from the Centre two days ago stating that the Vedanta Group had been given permission to carry out hydrocarbon exploration in a 2 sq km area in Bahour and 39 sq km in Karaikal. Besides, the group would carry out off-shore drilling in 4,047 sq km of the Puducherry and Tamil Nadu coast, the Chief Minister said.

The order by the Centre was against federal concepts, he said adding that the decision to amend the Environment Impact Assessment Notification 2006 was done with the sole intention not to have the mandatory public hearing for such major projects. “Now, they don’t need to get environmental clearance or elicit views of public on hydrocarbon projects. They (Centre) are trying to thrust their views and decisions on the people. It once again shows the autocratic style of functioning of Union Government,” he said.

The Legislative Assembly had passed a resolution in 2019 against implementing the project and the government would continue to oppose the project, the Chief Minister said.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 8:43:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/centre-working-as-an-agent-of-vedanta-group-says-puducherry-chief-minister/article30614351.ece

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