Tamil Nadu

Will reach out to villagers, dispel their doubts: ONGC

Representatives of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. (ONGC) on Saturday said that they would make efforts to reach out to the villagers of Kadiramangalam and allay their fears about the firm’s activities in the region.

“We will soon reach out to the Kadiramangalam villagers to dispel their doubts. External, vested interests are stoking tension in the village, where the residents have been cooperating with us since the establishment of oil wells in 2008,” said Kulbir Singh, executive director, Cauvery Asset, ONGC, while addressing the media along with T. Rajendran, group general manager, Cauvery Basin, ONGC, here on Saturday.

‘Baseless allegations’

Stating that the ONGC has always endeavoured to reach out directly to the locals in areas where it operates whenever the need arose, Mr. Singh pointed out that in Neduvasal as well, the firm had explained the project in detail to the people at a meeting arranged at the behest of Union Minister of State Pon. Radhakrishnan.

“We refuted certain allegations made against our efforts as baseless and unwarranted. Very soon, the ONGC, in consultation with the Thanjavur district administration, would meet the Kadiramangalam villagers and dispel their misplaced doubts,” he said.

The firm’s decision to engage directly with the Kadiramangalam villagers comes against the backdrop of the release from prison of 10 persons arrested in connection with clashes last June.

Similarly, a section of villagers has been waging a struggle for more than a month now, demanding an end to all ONGC operations in the area, alleging that its activities have depleted the groundwater table and polluted the available resources.

Stoutly denying that the ONGC was planning to explore coal bed methane and shale gas along the Cauvery basin, Mr. Singh and Mr. Rajendran claimed that the plan to exploit oil and natural gas reserves in 110 places pertained to areas which have already been explored and where potential has been identified. The plan was in the preliminary stages and had a long way to go, they said.

Alleging that vested interests were spreading false information on social media about the ONGC’s operations at sites in Kadiramangalam and Neduvasal, the officials said that a complaint has been lodged with the Cyber Crime Wing of the police to initiate action against those who were misleading the public.

When asked whether the ONGC would withdraw its complaints against the Kadiramangalam villagers, the officials noted that their personnel were manhandled and prevented from carrying out maintenance work when they rushed to set right the pipeline rupture which resulted in an oil spill last June.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 9:27:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/will-reach-out-to-villagers-dispel-their-doubts-ongc/article19482928.ece

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