The protestors want Tamil Nadu government to stop all ONGC projects in the Cauvery region.

 Kathiramangalam protests against ONGC Thousands of shops shut in Thanjavur and NagapattinamImage for representation
news Pollution Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - 17:50

The protest at Kathiramangalam village in Tamil Nadu’s Thanjavur distirct against ONGC oil pipelines has entered its 12th day.

More than 3000 shops downed their shutters in Thanjavur and Nagapattinam district on Tuesday declaring their solidarity with protests in Kathiramangalam. The protestors want Tamil Nadu government to stop all ONGC projects in the Cauvery region.

The village had erupted in protest after one of the pipelines leaked, and villagers fear that their water has been contaminated.

A shopkeeper from Kathiramangalam told The News Minute that shopkeepers in Nagapattinam and Thanjavur district took a unanimous edcision to support the protest.

“We want the government to stop all the works carried out by ONGC in the Cauvery region. It has destroyed our fertile lands and contaminated the drinking water,” he said.

Iraiyan, a resident of Mayiladutharai said, “Shops are shut in different areas like Mayiladutharai, Cholapuram and Pandanallur. The protests have been going on for the last 12 days and the people in Kathiramangalam want all the pipeline works of the ONGC to be stopped. The district administration is still saying that the oil pipelines won’t harm people living in these reigons and all the oil leaks have been fixed,” he said.

On June 30, 2017, after the people in Kathiramangalam saw oil leaking from a pipeline, they began a peaceful protest in the village and called for the collector to stop the oil pipeline works. But by 2pm that day, hundreds of police personnel were deployed in the village. Things went out of control when a fire broke out in the area. Police started beating up a group of people alleging they had set the fire. Ten people including an environmental activist Jayaraman, were arrested by the police and were remanded to Central jail in Trichy.  

However, Chief Minister Edapaddi Palanisamy told the assembly that policec were forced to resort to a lathicharge as protesters had started the fire deliberately. Speaking in the assembly on the mass protest and the baton-charge by police in Kadiramangalam village in Thanjavur, Palaniswamy said that ONGC had been exploring crude oil based on a licence issued to it in June 2001.

He said that on May 18, ONGC brought equipment for the purpose of oil well maintenance. The people thought the equipment was meant to extract methane and agitated against ONGC.