Tamil Nadu

Concern over major environmental issues

NGOs discuss role of corporates in causing impact on environment

MADURAI

Representatives of 10 non-governmental organisations discussed the role played by huge industrial and corporate entities in causing an impact on the environment and the stakeholders at a meeting, convened by Iyarkkai Padhukaapu Kuzhu, here on Saturday.

The speakers addressed a wide range of issues, including the proposed hydrocarbon project at Neduvasal, ONGC pipeline leak at Kathiramngalam, India-based Neutrino Observatory near Thevaram, fishermen issue, tribal subjugation and availability of safe food.

Speaking about the detrimental effects of over exploitation of Cauvery delta region, chief coordinator of Anti-Methane Project Movement T. Jayaraman said the region must be made a protected agricultural zone. Companies dealing in oil and natural gases must not be allowed to sink borewells, he said adding despite stiff opposition in Thanjavur and Tiruvarur areas, the State government sanctioned ONGC projects. The Expert Appraisal Committee, which looked into people’s protests, was ignored by the government, he said.

The speakers at the meeting demanded a ban on hydrocarbon projects in Tamil Nadu as they would increase the risk of fatality and affect the livehood activities of the people and animals.

M. Vetriselvan, a member of Chennai-based environmental group Poovulagin Nanbargal, said fossil fuel-based projects should not be sanctioned by the Centre. “Most countries are moving towards usage of renewable sources. Despite signing the Paris Agreement on climate change, India is forcing the people to go for non-renewable energy sources,” he said.

Film director and actor Rohini, who represented Safe Food Alliance (SFA), stressed the need to label genetically modified products. She said introduction of BT brinjal caused a stir after consumers understood its drawbacks and harmful effects. She said BT mustard was now making its way into India through the back door and corrupting the food system.

Representing Meenavar Vidudhalai Vengaigal, R. Mangayaselvan spoke on reduction in mangrove forest cover and the perils of deep-sea fishing.

C.R. Bijoy of Campaign for Survival and Dignity, a national coalition of forest-dwellers’ organisations, addressed issues relating to lack of special forest protection for dwellers of Jawadhu hills.

M. Valarmathi, a student activist, said the aim of the meeting was not to show dissent to governments’ initiatives but to express the meek voices of the oppressed.

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Printable version | Aug 5, 2020 9:16:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/concern-over-major-environmental-issues-madurai/article23407742.ece

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