In his letter to the Prime Minister, Stalin referred to bids invited by the ministry for development of oil and gas fields at Vadatheru in Pudukkottai district in Cauvery Basin on June 10, 2021 and said the identified area 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.
Stating that the legislation prohibits any new exploration, drilling and extraction of oil and natural gas and other similar hydrocarbons from the Protected Agricultural Zone, the Chief Minister said that it is unfortunate that the sentiments of the people, the probable ecological impact and legal enactments by Government of Tamil Nadu have not been taken into account by the relevant authorities.
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, Stalin said.
“In these circumstances, I urge you to immediately intervene and instruct the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to cancel the bid process for Vadatheru in Cauvery Basin. 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 added.
He also added that his government was 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 Agricultural Zone is in violation of the Tamil Nadu Protected Agricultural Zone Development Act 2020,” he added.