The DMK recorded its strong opposition to Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC)'s move to set up 104 hydrocarbon wells in Tamil Nadu. If ONGC is granted permission by the government of India, these wells will be over and above the permission granted for 341 hydrocarbon wells.
The simmering issue of allowing agencies to dig up Cauvery delta districts for hydrocarbon exploration once again came to the forefront following ONGC's letter to the Ministry of Environment.
The letter, dated June 18, requested the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to grant clearance to the company to set up 104 more wells in various locations in Tamil Nadu for exploring hydrocarbon. "Government of India plans to reduce the import dependence on crude oil up to 10% by 2022. In order to achieve these targets ONGC has to drill and complete more development wells," the letter stated.
The DMK, in its statement on Thursday, condemned the move and said that the farmers in Tamil Nadu are worried that the BJP government has decided to destroy agriculture in the region. "It is condemnable that the BJP keeps granting permissions to set up such wells after claiming to frame schemes for the benefit of the farmers," read the statement.
Further accusing the union government of not taking the initiative to arrange a meeting with the farmers who have expressed their opposition to the hydrocarbon projects by forming a 596-kilometre long human chain, the statement said, "It is painful that the central government is not giving due respect to democratic values." The statement also questioned why the Tamil Nadu chief minister is silent on this issue despite assuring people that no scheme will be implemented without their consent.
DMK also slammed the state government on its silence on the Cauvery issue. Calling the working of the Cauvery Water Management Authority akin to that of a 'post office,â€™ the DMK said, "The AIADMK government is betraying the farmers of Tamil Nadu by not mustering up the courage to pressurise Karnataka to obey the orders of CWMA or to escalate the violation to the central government." It was a reference to the CWMA's order to Karnataka government in May to release 9.19 tmcft of water to Tamil Nadu from Cauvery. Karnataka did not release water since it claimed that it had insufficient water level in its reservoirs. The CWMA then recently ordered Karnataka to release 31.24 tmcft of water from Cauvery as the instalment for July. However, later, the CWMA watered down the order by allowing Karnataka to release water only if there is inflow to its reservoirs.
DMK President MK Stalin, in the statement, also stressed on the need to appoint a permanent chairman for the CWMA and requested the union government to order Karnataka to release 40.43 tmcft of water as per CWMAâ€™s orders.