Tamil Nadu

Neduvasal rejoices over ‘temporary victory’

People having a look at the natural gas extraction project at Neduvasal village in Pudukkottai district.

People having a look at the natural gas extraction project at Neduvasal village in Pudukkottai district.   | Photo Credit: M. Moorthy

Residents want area declared ‘protected agricultural zone’

The reported move by Gem Laboratories – which was awarded the contract for hydrocarbon exploration at the ‘discovered small field’ at Neduvasal in Pudukottai district – to seek an alternative field is seen as a “temporary victory” by villagers who have been waging a sustained battle against the project for over a year now.

Neduvasal was in a celebratory mood on Thursday with villagers bursting crackers after reports appeared in media that said the company had sought an alternative block as the State government had not transferred the mining lease to the company.

“This is a victory, though temporary, for us and our consistent struggle against the project,” said A.S. Thirugnanam of Neduvasal village and a member of the struggle committee against the hydrocarbon project. The villagers would continue to express their stiff opposition if some other firm were to be given the project at Neduvasal or elsewhere in the State, he further said.

The proposed move by the company was a big boost to the series of protests, said Thanga Kannan of Senthankudi village near Neduvasal.

‘More remunerative’

The State government should declare the fertile Neduvasal and its surrounding villages as a “protected agricultural zone” which would prohibit exploration plans by any company in future. Agriculture would fetch more revenue to the government than the hydrocarbon project as Neduvasal and its surrounding areas were a highly fertile belt with various types of crops being raised, he added.

Mr. Thirugnanam said resolutions had been passed in the recent gram sabha meetings held in about 20 villages including Neduvasal demanding that the hydrocarbon project be scrapped.

“Villagers have stood united on this issue and would stoutly oppose if any other firm evinces interest to execute the project at Neduvasal or elsewhere,” Mr. Thirugnanam added.

“This is a first and small victory for our sustained struggle,” observed K. Dakshinamurthy of Neduvasal.

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Printable version | Mar 27, 2020 2:46:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/neduvasal-rejoices-over-temporary-victory/article23845879.ece

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