TIRUNELVELI: The proposed Coal Bed Methane (CBM) project will not only turn Cauvery basin into a desert but also impact soil and water quality in the region, according to a documentary screened on Saturday.
People in Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagappattinam and Kumbakonam may have to migrate elsewhere abandoning their traditional paddy crops if the project is implemented, cautions the documentary ‘Methane: Palaivanamakum Kaveri Delta’, screened in Palayamkottai.
The 45-minute documentary produced by May 17 Movement explains that the CBM is aimed at extracting methane gas present between the layers of coal beds at 6,000 feet below the ground level. The documentary claims that as per CBM project, a private company Great Eastern Energy Corporation Ltd, will extract Methane through 2,000 wells in Cauvery delta.
“For one well, 5.66 lakh litres of water will be required for five days and hence 4 TMC water will be required for 2,000 wells. For example, Mettur dam, having a capacity of 80 TMC water will be drained out in less than a week. As Cauvery and Kollidam river cannot provide this amount of water, all the water resources will be exploited for it,” the documentary claimed.
The project will also need 8 lakh truck-loads of sand. “We can contruct 80,000 houses using this amount of sand. Hence our rivers will be exploited through formal sand mining,” claimed the documentary.
Another danger, projected by the documentary, centred around the nature of extraction. “The company will drill upto 6,000 straight and then horizontal holes to ‘create’ pathways. By pumping compressed chemicals, the inner layers of earth containing coal beds will be exploded, creating pathways for collecting methane and other gases using chemicals. The underground explosion will not only shake the earth but also alter its texture,” projects the documentary.
The most dangerous effects would be: as Methane is highly inflammable and even water can catch fire due to possible mixing of the gas leaked during extraction.
If soil mixes with the leaked methane, it cannot be used for agriculture. Secondly, the waste water will contain more than 600 chemicals.
“As our companies have worst track record on waste water treatment, the lives of people will be under direct threat,” claimed the documentary.