Tamil Nadu, Puducherry have come out strongly against the approval given by the Modi Government to Vedanta group to undertake hydrocarbon exploration in the Cauvery delta regions of Vedaranyam as well as in adjoining Karaikkal in the Union Territory.
While Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisami has shot a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Puducherry’s Congress Chief Minister V Narayanasamy has told Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan that the Union Territory administration will not allow Vedanta group to even acquire land for the proposed project .
Narayanasamy told reporters in Puducherry that he had written to Pradhan on Tuesday in which he has said the project was sought to be imposed without the consent of the State Governments by the Centre and it would affect people of Karaikkal and Bagur as it would lead to environmental pollution, depletion of ground water in fertile agricultural land and seepage of saline water into the land.
Narayanasamy also cited two previous letters written to the Centre in 2019 in which he had raised objections. In his letter to Modi, Edappadi K Palanisami has taken exception to the Centre’s decision to do away with public consultation for undertaking drilling for gas and oil exploration
In his letter to Modi and Environment Minister Prakash Javedakar, the Chief Minister has said prior environmental clearance and public hearing should be made mandatory for such projects, more so as the Cauvery delta is an ecologically sensitive zone.
He referred to the Jan 16 Environment Impact Assessment (EPA) notification which divides offshore and onshore oil and gas exploration and production into A and B2 and says the latter category does not need prior public consultation.
The Chief Minister said the draft was not circulated to States and recalled that the proposed projects had already faced stiff resistance from delta farmers.
He said:” As most of these projects are situated in the Cauvery delta districts which are not only an ecologically fragile but also a fertile region and the rice bowl (of Tamil Nadu), it is essential to take all stakeholders along and the notification goes against this”.