Vedanta bags contract for hydrocarbon extraction in TN

Vedanta bags contract for hydrocarbon extraction in TN

Police stand guard outside a copper smelter controlled by London-listed Vedanta Resources in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, India, on May 28, 2018. REUTERS File Photo

Notwithstanding the bitter experience that led to the shutting down of its copper smelter in Tuticorin, Vedanta Limited has bagged contracts for exploration of hydrocarbons in the fertile Cauvery basin in Tamil Nadu.While Vedanta Limited, the Indian subsidiary of Vedanta Resources of London, received two blocks for exploration of hydrocarbons in the Cauvery basin, the state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) bagged just one block.

In all, Vedanta received 41 of the 55 awards by dominating the country's first open-access licensing round.

Vedanta bagging awards for exploration in Cauvery basin is significant since it comes within months of the company-owned Sterlite plant in Tuticorin was shut down by the Tamil Nadu government following vociferous opposition to the plant's expansion plans.

The company moved the National Green Tribunal, which has appointed a judge to go into the issue.

The copper smelter was shut down on May 28 this year after the police firing on anti-Sterlite protesters killed 13 people.

While shutting down the plant, the Tamil Nadu government cited a report from its pollution controller that Sterlite was the cause of water and air pollution in Tuticorin.

The awarding of contracts to Vedanta for hydrocarbon exploration was met with stiff opposition from the DMK which demanded that the Tamil Nadu government ensure that Vedanta does not indulge in extraction of hydrocarbons.

Farmers in the Delta region claim that extraction of hydrocarbon would convert the fertile land into a desert and had opposed extraction of hydrocarbon from Neduvasal in Pudukkottai.

“I request the BJP government at the Centre to immediately drop the project to protect the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu,” M K Stalin, Opposition leader and DMK president, said in a statement in Chennai on Wednesday.

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