CHENNAI: The Union government has reiterated that it would not undertake any new petroleum activities in the protected agricultural zone in Tamil Nadu.
Rameswar Teli, Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, informed the Parliament a few days ago that the Tamil Nadu Protected Agricultural Zone Development Act, 2020 prohibits undertaking any new project or new activity specified in the second schedule in the protected agricultural zone. The minister was responding to a query raised by DMK MP R Girirajan who sought to know the expected date of removal of installed petroleum, hydrocarbon and other equipment from the Delta districts of Tamil Nadu. Replying to the DMK MP's unstarred query in the Rajya Sabha on February 13, the Union Minister clarified that ongoing petroleum activities or projects in operation as well as infrastructure developments were not affected by the aforesaid Act. The legislation enacted in 2020 converted Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Mayiladuthurai and Tiruvarur districts besides a few blocks of Pudukottai and Cuddalore districts into a Protected Agricultural Zone. The state government also nominated a new set of members to the TN Protected Agricultural Zone Development Authority under the Act early last year. The act was passed following staunch opposition from the people, mainly farmers against exploration cum extraction of methane, hydrocarbon and oil from the Delta districts.
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