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TN will not clear Neduvasal project, says CM

Our Bureau Chennai March 1 | Updated on January 27, 2018

An 11-member team of the Anti-movement for Hydrocarbon Project in Neduvasal with the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami, in Chennai on Wednesday

Representatives of protesting group welcome Palaniswami’s assurance

An 11-member team of the Anti-movement for Hydrocarbon Project in Neduvasal that met Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami here on Wednesday expressed satisfaction over the assurance given by him and said it will explain the State government’s stand to those protesting the project in Neduvasal.

In a statement, Palaniswami said the government will not approve the project and urged the protestors to call of their agitation.

“The Chief Minister assured us that the State government will not give its permission for the hydrocarbon project in Neduvasal,” P Velu, a retired teacher from Neduvasal village and co-coordinator of the Anti-movement for Hydrocarbon Project, said after the meeting.

Velu, who led the team, met the Chief Minister at the Secretariat and requested him to pressurise the Centre to cancel the project.

The representatives explained to the Chief Minister that how people in Neduvasal and nearby villages were worried over the repercussions of the project. They feared that their ground may be contaminated by exploration efforts, rendering their land unfit for agriculture, which they depend on for livelihood.

Evaluation stage

Velu stated that the Neduvasal hydrocarbon project was still in evaluation stage and the work had not started.

“The project has to get the commercial licence and environment nod from the State government and the Chief Minister assured us that his government will not provide those approvals,” he said.

“All of us (representatives) welcome the Chief Minister’s promise and his assurance to issue a formal statement on the government’s stand. While we are satisfied with the outcome, we will go and convey this to the protesting people in our villages. They will decide whether to continue the protests or not. We hope a good decision will be made, ” said Velu. The team also requested the Chief Minister to look into the farmers’ concerns over health hazards due to leaks caused by improper closure of oil wells in nearby villages. He cited that those wells were closed due to lack of commercial viability some years ago.

Velu stated that the oil leaks were entering the nearby agricultural lands and causing damage.

Also, two people from the family that gave the lands to the contractors of oil wells have died of cancer. Those two were engaged in agriculture activity in the lands close to the abandoned oil wells. Another lady from the family is also battling for life in a hospital in Madurai now.

Villagers suspect that the oil leaks could have caused cancer and want the government to form a medical team to examine the issues.

CM’s assurance

Since Neduvasal farmers have expressed concerns that their livelihoods will be affected due to the hydrocarbon project, the State government will not give its permission to the project. People and farmers in Neduvasal need not worry, an official statement quoting Chief Minister Palaniswami issued after the meeting with the representatives of Neduvasal people.

The government will not support any project that will affect the livelihood of the farmers in the state. By accepting the government’s stand, people in Neduvasal should end their protests, he appealed.

He also said that he had discussed the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he met him on February 27 at New Delhi.

Published on March 01, 2017

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