Tamil Nadu Farmers Demand Compensation for Loss due to ONGC's Hydrocarbon Drilling

Reported by

Sumana

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

March 20, 2017

March 20, 2017

Updated on

March 20, 2017

Location of Conflict

Neduvasal

Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur, Pudukottai, Ariyalur, Cuddalore, Thiruvarur

Nagapattinam

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Petroleum and Gas

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

502

ha

Starting Year

2017

State

Tamil Nadu

Sector

Industry

The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has been drilling hydrocarbon resources from around the Cauvery delta for the past few decades. The governmentowned enterprise commenced drilling operations in 1964 in the area and has been expanding since. It operates 24 onland fields covering an area of 27,800 sq km and and three offshore fields covering about 30,000 sq km across seven districts in the area. Cauvery basin is one of Indias seven Category I sedimentary basins: having commercial production and proven hydrocarbon resources. Although the total area of land acquired is unavailable, reports state that around 502.58 hectares of land was acquired across the districts of Nagapattinam, Thanjavur and Thiruvarur alone. People who live in these areas say that the hundreds of wells that have been drilled in this area have ruined their once fertile soil, now making it unfit for agriculture. Even the groundwater is contaminated and unfit for consumption. Villagers living around the wells also complain of instances of gas and oil leaks, which are common occurrences now. A report states that ONGC has been carrying out drilling operations illegally, violating several environmental laws and regulations and also operating without valid licenses. When information about the project was sought from various departments including the TNPCB and its district offices, ONGC, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH), it was evident that none of these agencies responsible for oversight or regulation of ONGC has a complete picture of the company's operations in the area. The same report further states that ONGC has even roped in the police in the area to silence and intimidate any voices of protest. Several villagers have been arrested and slapped with false charges over the years. The residents here also point out that the company has done little over the years to compensate villagers for any losses suffered due to the drilling. During land acquisition for the project, only landowners were compensated, they complained. "When they talk about land, they only think of landowners," said Shanthi, a resident of Pazhaiyapalayam village in Nagapattinam district. Government talks to them, convinces them, and gives them money. What about us? We are dependent on the land, more than anybody else. Did anybody ask us? Did anybody give us money for our loss? After years of protests by farmers in the area, the Tamil Nadu government, in February 2020, announced that the Cauvery Delta would be declared a Protected Special Agriculture Zone. The Chief Minister also added that the Tamil Nadu government will not permit hydrocarbon exploration projects in the area. However, villagers point out that the existing wells will continue to be functional and the government has done nothing to compensate them for the losses that they have been suffering due to these wells.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Opposition against environmental degradation

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Both

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Environmental Laws, Land Acquisition Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community?

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Non-implementation/violation of LARR Act

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

National Green Tribunal (Southern Zone, Chennai)

Case Number

Application No. 136 of 2015, Application No.176 & 178 of 2015 (SZ), Original Application No. 174 of 2017 (SZ).

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Arrest/detention/imprisonment

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

ONGC has roped in the police in the area to silence and intimidate any voices of protest. Several villagers have been arrested and slapped with false charges over the years.

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Campaigns (grassroots organisations/press releases/media)

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH), Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

ONGC

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

Image Credit:  

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Documented By

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Reviewed By

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Updated By

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