Despite assurance from the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisamy, protests against the Hydrocarbon project in Neduvasal continues. Agitating farmers, students and activists want the central government to acknowledge their protest and drop the Hydrocarbon exploration and extraction project. While Palanisamy said that no permission has been given for the project, protesters were sceptical about the control the state government would have on the centre's project. It, however, turns out that the Tamil Nadu government can indeed force the Centre to withdraw the project from Neduvasal.
"The Tamil Nadu government can simply refuse to cooperate like they did in Tanjavur. The state is well within its powers to declare the entire locality an agricultural region. Once declared as an agriculture-only region, the government can chalk out activities that can be carried out and those that are to be restricted," said writer and activist Nityanand Jayaraman.
Ministers of the Tamil Nadu government have already claimed that the Tamil Nadu generation and distribution cooperation will not supply electricity for the project. Likewise, more measures to disallow the project can be taken by the government.
Tamil Nadu govt action on Methane exploration project
Just like the protests in Neduvasal, people in Thanjavur and Tiruvarur had gone on massive protests against a centre government's project of Methane exploration that began in 2010. Farmers led by late G Nammalwar worked towards campaigning against the project which as given environmental clearance in 2012.
Giving in to protests, the state government ordered that no clearance would be given for the coal bed methane exploration project in the delta districts of Thanjavur and Tiruvarur. The DMK government had sanctioned licence for four years to GEECL in 2011 but the consequent AIADMK government ordered a ban on the methane extraction project in October 2015.
People are hoping that similar stance is taken by the government to protect the interests of farmers and the Cauvery delta. While assurances are being given to the people, the state government is yet to act to instil confidence in the people. The government can Veto the centre's decision and that is the demand of the farmer community from Neduvasal.