• Dharmendra Pradhan seeks to allay protests over oilfields development in Tamilnadu

    Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan today met a delegation of villagers from Neduvasal in Tamilnadu protesting the recent award of oil and gas projects in the area. He was accompanied by commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Minister of State for Road transport, Highways and Shipping, Pon Radhakrishnan.

    The villagers of Neduvasal have been up in arms since February over the recently approved oil and gas extraction contract given to Gem Laboratories under discovered small field bidding round. The protests started after the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA) granted approval to projects to extract hydrocarbons in 31 contract areas across the country including two in the southern state.

    “Assured the delegation that the government will not unilaterally produce oil there without addressing their concerns in consultation with the TN government,” Pradhan said in a tweet after meeting the delegation from Neduvasal village.

    The minister also said in a separate statement in Parliament today the operator company has to obtain the requisite Mining Lease transferred from ONGC through the State Government for starting any petroleum activity. “After the grant or transfer of lease, to start any actual operations the operators will have to get requisite environmental clearances from State Government or Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change by following the prescribed process which may involve public hearing also,” he said in Lok Sabha.

    He informed that some local people and organizations have submitted representations and also filed two petitions in National Green Tribunal (NGT), Southern Zone, Chennai objecting the award of discovered small fields expressing apprehension regarding their possible environmental impact. The awarded projects will be taken up after following the requisite process including obtaining environmental clearances, Pradhan said.

    According to information available on the Directorate General of Hydrocarbon (DGH) website, Gem Laboratory Pvt Ltd, a new entrant in the hydrocarbon sector, has been given in-principle approval to extract oil and gas from a contract area in the Neduvasal village containing 1,243 million standard cubic feet (MMSCF) of gas and 2,785 thousand barrels of oil. Also, Bharat Petro Resources Ltd (BPRL) has been given in-principle approval to extract oil and gas from Karaikal village in the same state. Adrian Amos Womens Jersey

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