DMK members staged a walkout in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday as they were not permitted to raise the issue of hydrocarbon extraction projects in Tamil Nadu. House Chairman and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu refused to entertain a point of order raised by DMK MP Tiruchi Siva, MDMK chief Vaiko and others.
The interjection came during a speech by AIADMK MP Muthurasan. The MP stated that he, along with other AIADMK MPs, had met with Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas. “The Minister promised not to interfere in the matters of Tamil Nadu against the wish of the state of Tamil Nadu,” he said. Two days earlier, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami announced that the Cauvery delta region in the state, comprising Thanjavur, Thiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts, will be designated a ‘Protected Agricultural Zone’. However, it is unclear what happens to existing permissions given to ONGC and Vedanta for extraction in the state. The AIADMK MP said that the government of India had accepted the state’s opposition to the hydrocarbon scheme.
Speaking to reporters after walking out of the House, Tiruchi Siva said, “If a Minister says something in the House then it is the assurance of the government. It is the duty of party members to get answers from the government in the House as opposed to conducting private meetings. AIADMK doesn't do that. We tried to do that but they did not reply. So we fear that the Centre may be in two minds.”
Meanwhile, in the Lok Sabha, DMK’s parliamentary party leader TR Baalu said that a lot of hydrocarbon projects are going on in the delta region. The party demanded that the government must withdraw all hydrocarbon projects in the Cauvery delta area as it would impact farmers of that region.
“The matter is serious. I request the Agriculture Minister to prevail over the Oil Minister to withdraw all the projects,” Baalu said, just before the reply of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Budget 2020-21.