Tamil Nadu

‘Delta Bill will stand legal scrutiny’

Mannargudi region is estimated to have nearly 54% of the country’s lignite reserves.

Mannargudi region is estimated to have nearly 54% of the country’s lignite reserves.   | Photo Credit: M_SRINATH

High-level authority to take a call on projects in the Mannargudi lignite field

The emphasis of the Tamil Nadu Protected Agriculture Zone Development Bill is on promoting agriculture in the region than on acquiring any regulatory function, according to a senior official in the Agriculture Department.

Explaining salient features of the proposed law, the official said the Bill had been drafted in such a way that it would stand the test of legal scrutiny. As agriculture was a State subject, the government had chosen to give greater importance to “positive and promotional functions” than anything else. This is why 18 functions have been stipulated in Section 8 of the Bill.

At the same time, the proposed law had certain teeth in the form of penal powers to enforce implementation of its features.

Asked which agency would ensure that prohibited projects were not taken up in the delta, the official replied that those in charge of issuing planning permits and environmental clearances would scrutinise any development project from the angle of the proposed legislation too before giving their approval.

They would consult the Second Schedule of the proposed legislation which dealt with prohibited fields of industrial activity.

Lignite project

Asked whether the high-level authority, envisaged under the Bill, could act against any lignite project that might come up in future in the Mannargudi region, which was estimated to be having nearly 54% of the country’s lignite reserves, the official said that under Section 22 (2), the body could recommend to the government to include any project that might “adversely” affect agricultural developments in the protected zone and the latter could subsequently have the project included in the Second Schedule.

According to the Indian Mines Yearbook 2018, published by the Indian Bureau of Mines in the Union Ministry of Mines in November 2019, the country, as on April 1, 2018, had the total known lignite resources of around 45.66 billion tonnes, of which Tamil Nadu accounted for 80% with 36.135 billion tonnes. The Mannargudi lignite field, as is called officially, has about 24.69 billion tonnes. It covers different parts of Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, and Nagapattinam districts such as Orathanadu, Pattukottai, Alangudi, Pandanallur, Tirumangaicheri and Nachiyarkudi.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 2:57:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/delta-bill-will-stand-legal-scrutiny/article30884235.ece

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