Cauvery basin protected agricultural zone, says Stalin, urges PM to terminate hydrocarbon extraction in Pudukottai
Stalin said Cauvery Basin is the bedrock of the State’s food security and agro-based economy from time immemorial and the ecologically fragile zone supports the livelihood of millions of farmers
CHENNAI: A few days after the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas invited bids for oil and gas fields in Vadatheru block in Pudukottai district, Chief Minister MK Stalin on Sunday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to drop the proposal.
In another bid to protect federalism, Stalin also requested the Prime Minister to direct the Union government officials to consult the State government before bringing any area in the State for auctions in future for hydrocarbon exploration and extraction.
The area identified for auction falls in the Cauvery basin and also in the Protected Agricultural Zone declared by the State government, under the Tamil Nadu Protected Agricultural Zone Development Act, 2020.
This legislation prohibits any new exploration, drilling, and extraction of oil and natural gas and other similar hydrocarbons from the Protected Agriculture Zone, Stalin said in his letter to the Prime Minister. Given the pivotal role played by the region in the agrarian economy, Stalin said the Cauvery basin is the bedrock of the State’s food security. He added that this ecologically-fragile zone supports the livelihood of millions of farmers and farm workers.
‘Cancel bids for hydrocarbon projects’
"It is unfortunate that the sentiments of the people, the probable ecological impact and the legal enactments by the government of Tamil Nadu have not been taken into account by the relevant authorities," Stalin pointed out. He said the invitation of bids for extracting hydrocarbon has ignited public agitation in Pudukkottai and neighbouring districts, apprehending the adverse consequences in this agrarian region.
"My government is of the firm view that no new hydrocarbon projects should be taken up in the Cauvery basin and neighbouring districts in the interest of protecting the livelihoods of the farmers and fragile agro-ecology of the Cauvery basin. Moreover, any such proposal for new extraction in the Protected Agriculture Zone is in violation of the Tamil Nadu Protection Zone Development Act, 2020," added Stalin. He urged the Prime Minister to immediately intervene and instruct the Ministry concerned to cancel the bid process for Vadatheru in Cauvery Basin.