Tamil Nadu government has cancelled it's plans to create a Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR) comprising 45 districts of Nagapattinam and Cuddalore districts citing objections by the public and the fact that it is an environmentally fragile and sensitive agricultural zone.
The PCPIR in Tamil Nadu, notified in June 2017 and covering an area of 256.83 square kilometers, had seen an actual investment commitment of Rs 8,100 crore and proposed employment generation to the tune of 13,950 jobs.
Cancelling the notification declaring Local Planning Authority constituted for PCPIR in 2017, the state government said that the director of town and country planning has informed the government that a lot of objections have been received from the public against the exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons with demands to declare the delta region an ecologically sensitive agricultural zone.
Cauvery Delta Region, comprising Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts and delta blocks of Pudukkottai, Cuddalore, Tiruchy, Karur and Ariyalur districts is considered to be the rice bowl and granary of Tamil Nadu and at the same time is an environmentally fragile sensitive wetland and agricultuire zone. Any further exploration and exploitation, apart from activity which is already being carried out, may be detrimental to the environment of the sensitive zone, it added.
The decision comes after the state government, led by Edappadi K Palaniswami, passed a bill in the legislative assembly announcing the areas from the districts of Thanjavur, Thiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Cuddalore and Pudukottai as the Protected Special Agriculture Zone (PSAZ).
The bill denies permission to any new chemical processing plants or hydrocarbon exploration in this region in the future. This also comes at a time when the state has raised objections against the Centre's move to exempt exploration projects for hydrocarbon from mandatory public hearing prior to approval.