A farmers' movement against centre government's hydrocarbon exploration project in Neduvasal village in Tamil Nadu is gathering steam rapidly. Villagers are up in arms against the oil extraction project deeming it a disaster for their land, water and livelihood. This village in the Pudukkotai district of Tamil Nadu is becoming the hotbed of protests with social organisations and politicians extending support to the local people.
In February, the cabinet committee on economic affairs approved the hydrocarbon extraction project in Neduvasal. The heavily agrarian village now fears permanent effects of the project on its land and water and ultimately livelihood. Placed in the Cauvery basin, this village boasts of lush greenery but has been marked by ONGC as a hydrocarbon-rich location. A total of 44 fields have been marked in Neduvasal and Karaikal for exploration and extraction purposes. Protests broke out soon after the government approved the project and has only been gathering more support.
Day long protests and hunger strikes have become common for days in Neduvasal now. Villagers refuse to let officials from the ONGC enter the village leave alone carryout any work. The Tamil Nadu government has made its stand clear to the Centre. Under pressure by protesting villagers, the government has even asked the Tamil Nadu generation and distribution corporation limited to refuse electricity supply to the project.
Not just Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisami but the leader of opposition M K Stalin has also taken representation against the project to the union government. On Sunday, Neduvasal residents hoisted black flags atop their houses and commercial establishments remained closed as a mark of protests.