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DMK to protest for change in rules on oil exploration

Last Updated : 22 January 2020, 15:26 IST
Last Updated : 22 January 2020, 15:26 IST
Last Updated : 22 January 2020, 15:26 IST
Last Updated : 22 January 2020, 15:26 IST

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Tamil Nadu’s principal opposition party, DMK, will hold an agitation on January 28 in five districts in the Cauvery Delta region demoing recalling of an amendment that allows companies to carry out hydrocarbon exploration activities without applying for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and holding public consultations.

DMK President M K Stalin said the party cadre will hold protest demonstrations at the headquarters of Thanjavur, Thiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Pudukkottai, and Cuddalore on January 28. “The demonstration will demand to recall of the new notification, dropping of all oil exploration projects in the Cauvery Delta region and announcing the area as a protected agriculture zone,” Stalin said in a statement.

Environmental activists and farmers say the latest amendment to the EIA Notification, 2006 will give a free hand to companies like Vedanta Limited and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) to carry out exploratory activities in an area of nearly 4,500 square kms without holding any public hearing or conducting a study to assess any possible damage to the environment.

Vedanta, whose Sterlite Copper was shut in May 2018 after protests against the expansion plan turned violent killing 13 people in police firing, has been permitted to drill 274 exploratory wells and ONGC in 40 in Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Villupuram in Tamil Nadu and Kaaraikal in neighboring Puducherry.

Farmers in the fertile Cauvery Delta region feel the hydrocarbon exploration would bring irreparable loss to agriculture in the Delta, whose cultivation area has already shrunk over the years due to a variety of factors.

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Published 22 January 2020, 15:26 IST

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