Hydrocarbon project against T.N. law: Stalin

'Consult State ab initio before any auctions in future’

June 14, 2021 12:16 am | Updated 02:30 am IST - CHENNAI

M.K. Stalin. File.

M.K. Stalin. File.

No new hydrocarbon project should be taken up in the Cauvery basin and neighbouring districts in the interest of protecting farmers’ livelihoods and the fragile agro-ecology of the region, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin said in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday.

Any new proposal for hydrocarbon extraction is in violation of the Tamil Nadu Protected Agricultural Zone Development Act, 2020, he pointed out.

Mr. Stalin urged the Prime Minister to immediately intervene and instruct the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to cancel the bidding process for the development of oil and gas fields at Vadatheru in Pudukottai district in the Cauvery basin.

“I also request you to instruct the Ministry to consult the State government ab initio before bringing any area in Tamil Nadu for any auction in future for hydrocarbon exploration and extraction,” he said.

He pointed out that the area identified for the auction fell under the Cauvery basin and the Protected Agricultural Zone declared by the State government, where any new exploration, drilling or extraction of oil and natural gas and other hydrocarbons was prohibited.

“It is unfortunate that the sentiments of the people, the probable ecological impact and the legal enactments by the Government of Tamil Nadu have not been taken into account by the relevant authorities,” the Chief Minister said.

Mr. Stalin said the calling of bids by the Government of India had already ignited agitations in Pudukottai and neighbouring districts due to apprehensions over the adverse consequences of hydrocarbon extraction in the agrarian region.

“The Cauvery basin, as you are well aware, is the bedrock of Tamil Nadu’s food security and agro-based economy since time immemorial. This ecologically fragile zone supports the livelihoods of millions of farmers and farm workers. In this context, projects to extract hydrocarbons from the Cauvery basin have faced unanimous, strident opposition from all stakeholders,” he said.

The Chief Minister said the State government had consistently opposed hydrocarbon exploration and extraction projects in the Cauvery basin and neighbouring districts, given the pivotal role played by the region in the agrarian economy.

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