CM declares Cauvery delta as protected agricultural zone

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Sunday announced that the Cauvery delta region would be declared as a ‘Protected Agricultural Zone’.

Palaniswami said his government would consult legal experts and bring in a legislation in the Assembly soon to give a legal cover to his significant announcement that comes in the backdrop of resentment over a Centre’s notification.

The notification allowed companies like ONGC and Vedanta to carry out hydrocarbon exploration activities without applying for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and holding public consultations.

Laying the foundation for the Advanced Institute for Integrated Research on Livestock and Animal Sciences (AIIRLIVAS) in Salem district, Palaniswami said the Cauvery delta region will be declared as protected agricultural zone.

He said the government will come out with a law after consulting legal experts in this regard. Palaniswami said it was DMK that brought the controversial hydrocarbon exploration projects. But it was only AIADMK government that prevented such projects.

He said Cauvery delta region is near the coast and there is a risk of sea water incursion and hence this region should be protected.

The delta region has witnessed protests by farmers and opposition parties over various projects, including hydrocarbon extraction and oil exploration, since 2015. The Protected Agricultural Zone tag would require state government permission to undertake projects.

The CM said:  “I resolutely state that we will consult with legal experts, research the ways and means to do this and take appropriate action to bring a special law for this. I would also like to state that this government will never allow the introduction of new projects such as hydrocarbon in this region.”

Stating that he himself was a farmer, Palaniswami said, “Henceforth, no project that affects the welfare of farmers will be allowed in the state. We will not grant permission for it.”