Hundreds of people including farmers, environmentalists and members of civil society participated in the human chain against the implementation of hydrocarbon project on Sunday. The ‘Movement Against Destruction’ had called for the human chain in the Pudukottai, Thiruvarur, Thanjavore and Nagapattinam districts in Tamil Nadu.
The leaders and cadres of political parties of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Congress, Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)], Communist Party of India (CPI), Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) participated in the event.
Opposition Demands Scrapping of Hydrocarbon Project
The opposition parties and the farmers’ organisations cutting across all political lines except the AIADMK and BJP have been vociferously opposing the project and the sanctioning of exploration well to the Vedanta group and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC). The protesters demanded the scrapping of hydrocarbon project in the region. They accused the union and state governments of compromising the interest of the farmers in the name of development. The farming sector in the region has taken a severe jolt after the hydrocarbon exploration works started.
They also accused the ONGC of poor maintenance of pipe lines resulting in the leakage of oil in the fields as well as the water bodies damaging the crops as well as the fertility of the soil. The protesters alleged that a pipe laid by the ONGC had rusted away and the oil spilled all over a water body making the water useless for any purpose during the last week.
Unconventional Exploration Process Dangerous?
The protesters also alleged that the unconventional exploration process is set to damage the earth’s inner structure and will also affect the ground water table of the region. The present conventional exploration process itself is not being done as per the regulations by the state-owned ONGC resulting in severe water pollution in the region and now the private player, Vedanta, being granted exploration permission for non-conventional process will make the matters worse for the farmers and the public, they alleged.
The Vedanta is known for flouting of norms and its controversial Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi has been closed down after massive protests and loss of 13 lives in police firing. The people of the region are highly concerned about the permission granted to the Vedanta group.
DYFI Public Conference Turns to Road Roko Amidst Police Ban
Earlier on Saturday the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) had called for a rally and public conference against the implementation in Thanjavore. However, the Tamil Nadu police denied permission for the event. The DYFI cadres led by the state secretary V Bala resorted to road roko and conducted the conference on the roadside itself. Thousands of police were deployed in the city to stop the rally and the conference.
The farming community together with fisher folks and other sections of the society are charting out further programs against the implementation of the hydrocarbon project. The struggles are set to further escalate and knock the doors of the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government and Bharathiya Janatha Party, the parties remaining silent on the sensitive issue damaging the Rice Bowl of the state.