NEW DELHI/TIRUCHY/PUDUCHERRY : Days after the protests against the proposed hydrocarbon extraction plant at Neduvasal died down, the controversy got a fresh lease of life with the Petroleum Ministry on Monday signing the contracts of 31 fields awarded under the Discovered Small Field (DSF) Bid Round 2016 with 22 companies at New Delhi.
The list of contract areas included Neduvasal and Karaikal, where protests gathered steam following the development. While the Neduvasal project has been awarded to GEM Laboratories, Bharat Petro Resources Limited bagged the one in Karaikal.
Residents of Neduvasal began mobilising support from adjacent villages, including Vadakadu, Pattukkottai, Karambakkudi and Aranthangi, and decided to form a core committee to oppose the project.
“We suspended our protest earlier as we were assured by the district administration, State government and Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan that the project would not be implemented in Pudukkottai district. But now, with the Petroleum Ministry signing contracts for the hydrocarbon project, we have decided to mobilise representatives of 70 villages around Neduvasal to prevent the oil extraction project,” K Dakshinamoorthy, representative of Neduvasal protesters, told Express.
Stating that they were banking on the State government’s support, residents of the area added that the Collector had given them a written assurance that the administration would not entertain the hydrocarbon project.
Meanwhile in Puducherry, Chief Minister V Narayanasamy reiterated that the proposed hydrocarbon gas project in Karaikal would not be implemented if there was opposition from the people, particularly farmers.
As the project cannot be implemented without the approval of the territorial government, his government would act as per the wishes of the people, he said. Agriculture Minister R Kamalakannan said the project would have adverse effects on the soil and environment of Karaikal.