Poovulagin Nanbargal, an environment conservation organisation, has released a report card on the environmental projects promised in the manifestos of major TN political parties.

Ballot paper used for polling in a place in IndiaImage for representation/PTI
news 2021 Tamil Nadu Assembly Election Tuesday, March 30, 2021 - 08:47

Conservation of environment has taken center-stage in the upcoming Tamil Nadu Assembly elections with parties promising several environment related schemes. In the last five years, Tamil Nadu has seen continued protests by people across the state against several government and private projects — from Tamil Nadu farmers who protested in Delhi, to the anti-Sterlite protests in Thoothukudi, and the recent protests against the expansion of Adani’s Port in Kattupalli.

This election season, Tamil Nadu parties have made their views on some of these projects clear, and have made promises regarding their action plan for the environment in their manifestos. Poovulagin Nanbargal, an environment conversation organisation, has released a report card on the environmental projects promised in the manifestos of major Tamil Nadu political parties — and the repercussions the project can have on the environment. While Poovulagin Nanbargal has appreciated certain projects mentioned in each manifesto, they have also shown opposition to several projects.

AIADMK

Poovulagin Nanbargal appreciated the scheme of AIADMK to introduce 5,000 electric buses and to distribute solar stoves for the people. They applauded Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam's declaration against giving a nod for the Adani Port expansion project. They also welcomed the initiative to start a research centre to study the agricultural possibilities in barren lands, and an agriculture research centre in the name of Nammazhvar.

However, the organisation said, AIADMK also made promises that are largely detrimental to the environment. The organisation was critical about the river interlinking project proposed by the party. The organisation said, without any scientific research on the consequences of river interlinking projects and marine biodiversity, the proposal considers flood water as surplus water and so interlinking the rivers will create damage to the environment.

DMK

Poovulagin Nanbargal welcomed the proposed move to put pressure on the Union government to revoke the three recently passed farm laws; to propose a separate budget for agriculture; to provide minimum support price for millets, and to directly procure and sell limited quantities in ration shops; to set up an “Organic Farming Research Centre” in honour of organic farming expert G Nammazhvar; and to increase the forest cover of the state by 33%.

However, the organisation opposed the announcement regarding Sethu Samudram project; the proposal to urge Union government to commence interlinking of South Indian rivers; the proposal to create a Ministry for Mines and Minerals for introducing policy and framework to regulate extraction of rare minerals and increase revenue through such activities; and reviving Udangudi and Cheyyur power projects.

The organisation also expressed its disappointment for DMK for failing to make announcements regarding climate change and long term projects to tackle the climate crisis.

AMMK

The Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam, which is facing Assembly elections for the first time, has given importance to the environment, but there are also projects that will turn disastrous to the environment, Poovulagin Nanbargal said.

The promising aspects of the manifesto, Poovulagin Nanbagal said, are to review maintenance and safety measures at Kudankulam nuclear power plant and raise voice for the dropping of the expansion plan of Kudankulam plant. The party has also proposed the introduction of a scheme called ‘Green Tamil Nadu in five years’ to focus on growing micro forests on poramboke lands.

However, the organisation opposed the promise of the party to increase the cargo handling capacity at eight ports across Nadu including Chennai, Ennore, Thoothukudi, Kaatupalli, Colacheal and Nagapattinam. They have also promised to give adequate land for the projects while there are protests against Adani port expansion in Kattupalli. “The concerned Port managements themselves can grant permission and licenses for these factories and to that extent powers will be relegated to these Ports,” the manifesto said. This, the organisation said, is against the welfare of the fisher community.

Makkal Needhi Maiam

Poovulagin Nanbargal welcomed the desilting works promised by MNM, and their promise to install solar panels to operate three LED lights, fan, television and mobile chargers.

However, the organisation opposed the river interlinking scheme proposed by the party and also criticised the proposal to export 50% minerals from the state since it will result in exploitation of natural resources.  

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