DMK principal secretary K.N. Nehru on Sunday alleged that Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami had announced that the Cauvery delta region will be declared a protected agricultural zone only to divert the people’s attention from his government’s “betrayal of delta farmers”.
In a statement issued in Chennai, he said the Chief Minister should first adopt a resolution in the Assembly, stating that hydrocarbon exploration projects will not be allowed in the delta region, and cancel the projects awarded to the Vedanta group and the ONGC, particularly those in the delta region. “The Chief Minister should also withdraw the letter written by Environment Minister K.C. Karuppannan, in which he had stated that public hearings and environmental clearances were not necessary for such projects. Then, he can make the announcement designating the delta region as a protected agricultural zone in the Assembly,” the DMK leader said. Mr. Nehru alleged that the announcement was a diversionary tactic, since the government had already granted permission for hydrocarbon projects. “He is taking the farmers for granted, the same way he cheated the students of Tamil Nadu on the NEET issue,” he said.
The DMK leader said the Chief Minister’s announcement was a ‘farcical drama’, noting that his government had approached the Supreme Court against the Madras High Court’s direction on a farm loan waiver. “If the CM thinks people will forget about the suicide of 13 farmers and the police action against farmers, he is day-dreaming,” he added. He condemned the CM’s statement that it was the erstwhile DMK government that had granted permission for hydrocarbon exploration projects. “He lacks the courage to withdraw the permissions granted to Vedanta and the ONGC,” he said.