No hydrocarbon project in Tamilnadu: Palaniswami

Chennai: Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami today informed the State Assembly that there is no place for hydrocarbon and other projects that would harm agriculture in Tamilnadu.

Replying to a DMK legislator in the House, he said, ”there are no chances for hydrocarbon and other projects to come in Tamilnadu. DMK and people need not worry about this.”

Meanwhile, the main opposition DMK staged a walkout from the Assembly today, expressing disappointment over not passing a resolution against NPR. Speaking to reporters later, DMK president and Leader of Opposition M K Stalin said the AIADMK government was afraid of the BJP government in the Centre.

Last month, the Tamilnadu Assembly successfully adopted a Bill that prohibits projects involving exploration, drilling and extraction of oil and natural gas, including coal-bed methane, and other similar hydrocarbon and ship- breaking industry in the Cauvery delta region of the State.

Aimed at protecting agriculture in the delta areas, considered the rice bowl of Tamilnadu, the Bill also seeks to establish a high-powered authority to be led by the Chief Minister to protect and improve farming to increase farm productivity.

Palaniswami piloted the Tamilnadu Protected Agricultural Zone Development Bill 2020 and called it ‘historic.’ He rued that the DMK walked out to politicise the matter. Farmers would however be happy and they would welcome the Bill, he said. State Ministers spoke welcoming the initiative and praised Palaniswami.

The prohibition clause of the Bill said: ”No person shall undertake any new project or new activity specified in the Second Schedule in the protected agricultural zone.”

Apart from coal-bed methane, shale gas and other similar hydrocarbon and ship-breaking industry, the schedule of prohibited projects also include zinc smelter, iron ore process plant, integrated steel plant and sponge iron plant. Also, copper smelter, aluminium smelter, bone meal, processing of animal horn, hoofs and body parts and tannery are included.

NT Bureau