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National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO) today urged ONGC to publish a white paper on its ongoing oil exploration operations and future plans in Cauvery delta areas in the district. A team of NCHRO, the umbrella body of various human rights and civil rights organisations and activists, led by its Chairperson Prof A Marx,had last week visited Kathiramangalam, Kuthalam, Vilamal and Adiyakkamangalam, where ONGC is conducting the explorations. They interacted with the villagers who have been protesting over the last two weeks against the exploration by the oil major as they fear it would affect the environment and also their livelihood, NCHRO sources said. They team held discussions with ONGC officials regarding the projects and submitted a report with various suggestions to the government and the PSU. It urged the government to release 10 persons arrested for protesting against ONGC's operations and withdrawal of cases filed against them. The team also wanted the Government to constitute a panel headed by a High Court judge to study the environmental impact due to ONGC's operations in the Cauvery delta region. The panel should include technical and industry experts besides doctors and human rights activists. Noting that ONGC's operations in Kathiramangalam had been suspended temporarily due to local protest,the team urged the government to stop ONGC's activities till the apprehensions of the people are allayed. On June 30, several persons, including two policemen, were injured when some locals and activists allegedly belonging to opposition parties, reportedly indulged in violence while protesting a 'leak' in an ONGC pipe, leading to lathicharge at Kathiramangalam.
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