Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Thursday introduced a bill in the state legislative assembly to declare the Cauvery Delta region in the state as a Protected Special Agriculture Zone.
The bill was tabled in the assembly after the cabinet on Wednesday approved the policy decision announced by the chief minister during a public meeting recently.
The Bill said, since certain non-farming activities were adversely affecting agriculture in the region, threatening the State’s food security, “to protect the agriculture in this region, it is proposed to prohibit certain activities in the region.”
The Bill also sought to establish a 30-member Tamil Nadu Protected Agricultural Zone Authority headed by the Chief Minister to advise the government on various measures to protect and improve farming activities to increase farm production and farm productivity to serve the interest of farmers.
The passage of the Tamil Nadu Protected Agricultural Zone Development Bill also comes after Palaniswami had in January opposed the Centre’s decision to exempt hydrocarbon projects from public consultations by amending the Environment Impact Assessment Notification.
Farmers in Tamil Nadu’s rice bowl have in the past protested over permissions being granted to oil and gas companies to carry out hydrocarbon exploitation projects.
The bill excludes Tiruchi, Ariyalur and Karur districts, so any ongoing projects in the area will not be disrupted. Only Thanjavur, Thiruvarur, Nagapattinam and parts of Cuddalore and Pudukkottai in the Cauvery basin are covered in the bill.
Leader of Opposition M K Stalin welcoming the initiative raised several points and wanted it to be sent to a Select Committee for complete success of the initiative. Batting for rescinding the existing hydrocarbon projects, he asked why districts of Tiruchirappalli, Karur and Ariyalur were excluded.