Cancel bid to extract hydrocarbon from Cauvery: Stalin to Modi
Chennai: In a strongly worded letter, Tamil Nadu chief minister M K Stalin Sunday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to cancel a bid called by the union ministry of petroleum and natural gas to extract hydrocarbon from the state’s protected agriculture zone and basin of the river Cauvery.
He said that they have learnt of the union ministry inviting bids on June 10 for the development of oil and gas fields at Vadatheru in Tamil Nadu’s Pudukkottai district which falls under a Protected Agricultural Zone, under the Tamil Nadu Protected Agricultural Zone Development Act, 2020 which prohibits any new exploration, drilling and extraction of oil, natural gas and other similar hydrocarbons.
The identified area also comes within the Cauvery basin, which Stalin said is the ‘bedrock’ of food security and agro-based economy “from time immemorial”. Stalin said that it is his government’s firm view that no hydrocarbon projects should be accepted in these regions, to protect the interests of the Agrarian community and the ecology of the region.
“Unfortunately, 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 said in his letter.
“The calling of bids by the Government of India has already ignited public agitation in Pudukkottai and neighbouring districts apprehending the adverse consequences of hydrocarbon extraction in this Agrarian region… This ecologically fragile zone supports the livelihood of millions of farmers and farmworkers. In this context, projects to extract hydrocarbons from the Cauvery basin have faced unanimous strident opposition from all stakeholders.”
Stalin urged Modi to immediately intervene and cancel the project and asked his government to consult the state before such moves. “I also request you to instruct the ministry to consult the state government ab initio before bringing any area in Tamil Nadu for any auctions in future for hydrocarbon exploration and extraction,” he said. He added that the state government has consistently opposed hydrocarbon exploration and extraction projects in the Cauvery basin and neighbouring districts.
Environmental activists such as Nityanand Jayaraman have welcomed Stalin’s statement asking the union government to withdraw from the mining lease auction. “TN is not for sale, Modiji,” he tweeted.