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Cancel bids for hydrocarbon extraction in Cauvery Basin, Stalin urges PM Modi

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on June 13, 2021

Chief Minister MK Stalin   -  -

‘This ecologically fragile zone supports the livelihood of millions of farmers and farm workers’

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately intervene and instruct the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to cancel the bid process notified by it for extraction of hydrocarbon in Vadatheru Block of the Cauvery Basin in Pudukkottai district.

‘Bedrock of TN’

Stalin also requested the Prime Minister to instruct the Ministry to consult the State government ab initio before bringing any area in Tamil Nadu for any auctions in future for hydrocarbon exploration and extraction. In a letter to the Prime Minister on Sunday, Stalin said that Cauvery Basin is the bedrock of Tamil Nadu’s food security and agro-based economy from time immemorial. This ecologically fragile zone supports the livelihood of millions of farmers and farm workers. Projects to extract hydrocarbons from the Cauvery basin have faced unanimous strident opposition from all stakeholders.

The Tamil Nadu government has 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.

It is learnt that the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has invited bids for development of Oil and Gas fields at Vadatheru in Pudukkottai district in the Cauvery basin on June 10.

‘Protected zone’

The identified area for auction falls in the Cauvery basin and also in the Protected Agricultural Zone declared by the State government, under the Tamil Nadu Protected Agricultural Zone Development Act, 2020. “This legislation prohibits any new exploration, drilling and extraction of Oil and Natural Gas and other similar hydrocarbons from the Protected Agricultural Zone,” the letter said.

It is unfortunate that the sentiments of the people, the probable ecological impact and the legal enactments by the Tamil Nadu government have not been taken into account by the relevant authorities. The calling of bids by the Government of India has already ignited public agitation in Pudukkottai and neighbouring districts apprehending the adverse consequences of hydrocarbon extraction in this agrarian region.

“My government is of the firm view that no new hydrocarbon projects should be taken up in the Cauvery basin and neighbouring districts in the interest of protecting the livelihoods of the farmers and fragile agro-ecology of the Cauvery basin. Moreover, any such proposal for new extraction in the Protected Agricultural Zone is in violation of the Tamil Nadu Protected Agricultural Zone Development Act, 2020,” the letter said.

Published on June 13, 2021

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