Chennai, Feb 17 : The Tamil Nadu Assembly today witnessed lively exchanges between the ruling AIADMK and the Opposition DMK on getting the Centre's nod for declaring Cauvery delta region as a Protected Special Agricultural Zone (PSAZ). During Question Hour, Electricity Minister P Thangamani sought to know why the DMK, which was part of the Centre and in power in the State, did not take steps to declare Cauvery region as PSAZ.
He also said Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, being a farmer himself, has declared Cauvery delta region as PSAZ. Responding, Deputy leader of the Opposition and former PWD Minister Duraimurugan, while welcoming it, said ''if the AIADMK government had adopted a resolution against Coal-bed methane project in the House and then announced Cauvery delta region as PSAZ, we (the DMK ) would have wholeheartedly welcomed it''.
Seeking to know why the State government did not bring in a resolution in this regard, he also wanted the government to adopt a resolution that Vedanta and other companies would not be allowed to take up oil exploration works in the delta region. Countering, Mr Palaniswami said ''you had criticised the AIADMK, when it had 37 MPs in the Lok Sabha. But what you (DMK now has 37 MPs) are doing now...you have more number of MPs and you can get the Centre's nod for it''. ''You say you are the third largest party in LS, why don't you do it'', the Chief Minister asked to which Mr Duraimurugan said ''you made the announcement that Cauvery delta region will be made PSAZ, but want our (DMK) MPs to get the Centre's nod''.
''We are at loggerheads with the Centre and you (AIADMK) are having cordial relations with them'', he said, hinting that the AIADMK should get permission from the Centre. It may be recalled that Mr Palaniswami had on February nine said that the Cauvery delta region would be declared a PSAZ as a step towards ensuring food security of the State, an announcement widely hailed by political parties and farmers’ organisations, while the DMK termed it a “diversionary tactic”.
He also said “I am a farmer and the State government would never give permission for any project that would affect the livelihood of farmers... At Neduvasal, whatever project the Centre may introduce, it cannot be implemented without NOC from the State government,” he said.
Since the delta region was close to the sea, there was a need to safeguard the region. To ensure that agriculture was not affected, the Cauvery delta regions of Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Pudukottai, Cuddalore, Ariyalur, Karur and Tiruchirapalli will be classified into a Protected Special Agriculture Zone,” he said. Stating that only agricultural and allied industries should be allowed in the delta region, he said the State government would hold consultations with legal experts, and steps would be taken to enact a special legislation in this regard. (UNI)