According to PR Pandian, president of the Coordination Committee of All Farmers Associations, the Centre has been introducing the draft notification of the Environment Impact Assessment which also entitled to extend the execution of the ongoing oil and gas extraction wells upto 2023 without the concerns of the farmers from the region and the permission from the Pollution Control Board.
He pointed out that a hydrocarbon well owned by ONGC at Periyakudi village in Tiruvarur had exploded and the farmers staged a series of protests and later, the digging of the well was stopped. However, the Pollution Control Board allowed to establish eight wells at various villages including Irulnooki, Vikkirapandiam, Alathur, Mavattakudi, Kulamanikkam and Senthamangalam but the public hearing at the Tiruvarur collectorate in 2014 had refused permission and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board denied permission to ONGC for digging the wells and thereafter, the farmers resolved not to give land for such activities. The state government declared Cauvery Delta as Protected Special Agricultural Zone in January 2020 and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and Agriculture Department issued separate orders in this regard.
However, the Centre with a hidden agenda had accepted ONGC’s request for extension of period for digging of exploration wells till 2023 and Environment ministry had also reportedly accepted the application.