CHENNAI: The long pending dream of farmers of the Cauvery delta has become a reality, with the State government notifying the Tamil Nadu Protected Agricultural Zone Development Bill, 2020 in its extraordinary gazette. The Bill received the assent of the State Governor Banwarilal Purohit within 24 hours of its passage by the State Assembly. In another significant development, the State government has cancelled the notification issued in issued on July 19, 2017 declaring 45 villages of Nagapattinam and Cuddalore districts as a long planning area for constitution of Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR). The cancellation has also been notified in the gazette.
Criticising the provisions of the Agri Zone Bill, political parties and NGOs have wondered why many hazardous industries already functioning in the delta were not closed down under this legislation. Cancellation of the PCPIR was one among them. The G.O issued on February 21 cancelling the PCPIR said “The Director of Town and Country Planning has stated that a lot of objections have been received from the public vehemently opposing the exploration and extraction of hydrocarbon and further demanding to declare the delta region as an ecologically sensitive agricultural zone.”
Those who objected to the above projects, had also said that “Any further exploration and exploitation, apart from such activity which already exist, may be detrimental to the environment of the sensitive zone and therefore request the government that the earlier notification declaring local planning area for constitution of PCPIR may be cancelled.”
The DMK and its allies - Congress and IUML, though supporting the Agri Zone Bill, urged the government to refer it to the Select Committee of the House to set right certain shortcomings in the Bill. However, Law Minister CVe Shanmugam said first of all, the State needed such a legislation immediately to protect the agriculture land and that the shortcomings, if any could be set right later.
Law Minister CVe Shanmugam had said that the State needed agri zone bill immediately to protect the agriculture land and that the shortcomings, if any, could be set right later.