Welcoming the State government’s decision to suspend the coal bed methane project in Thanjavur and Tiruvarur districts, a group of activists warned that any industrial projects in the ‘rice bowl’ of Tamil Nadu would turn the region into a salt pan and endanger food security in the State.
They were participating in a discussion on the issue at the Centre for Law, Policy and Human Rights Studies in Chennai on Saturday. Participants cited previous international projects to show that the methane extraction process would have severely affected the region’s ecology and resulted in the slow death of agriculture.
Activists at the seminar also announced plans to form a multi-group citizens’ committee to study the impact of the coal bed methane project after the government formed a similar panel.
Some activists claimed that hydraulic fracturing of the area to extract methane could impact oxygen intake of plants. Furthermore, the water, which will be extracted to get methane out, would have high content of sodium and other metals that could harm agriculture.