Residents of Komallapudi Agitate Against Shale Gas Exploration in Andhra Pradesh

Reported by

Rahul MagantiLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

November 24, 2021

Location of Conflict

Komallapudi

Modumudi, Kalavacherla

Krishna

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Petroleum and Gas

Shale Gas

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

72

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

10

ha

Starting Year

2015

State

Andhra Pradesh

Sector

Industry

In 2015, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) announced that it would take up shale gas exploration in the Krishna Godavari Basin. ONGC started acquisition** **for each well on lease from farmers in the East Godavari, West Godavari and Krishna Districts. ONGC proposed to undertake exploratory drilling in five wells in the three districts for a cost of Rs 217 crore. In 2017, the proposal was approved. However, the plan triggered fears that the project would pose a threat to the natural resources and the farmers in the region who depend on these.

Several activists and environmentalists argue that the drilling process would involve large amount of water, leaving little for farming and household consumption in the area. They also added that the drilling could cause mild tremors in the area. The process of fracking or drilling oil, many argue, may lead to contamination of drinking water and soil with toxic and carcinogenic chemicals. Fracking has been banned in several countries like France, Netherlands, Ireland, Scotland and some parts of the US.

In 2017, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change granted Environmental clearance to ONGC to go ahead with the project. However, locals protested against the commencement of the project and pointed out several environmental risks they would be exposed to, like the release of harmful gases like methane and radon. A public meeting was held with the local residents from the villages of Kommalapudi and Modumudi in Krishna District, and Kalavacherla of East Godavari district. A human rights activist from Amalapuram, Y. Rajesh, , said that the local Mandal revenue Officer had conducted a public hearing at Kalavacheruvu village** **without identifying the project site. As part of public consultation for environment clearance, the relevant authorities need to identify the project site. If the villagers disagree to give the identified site, the relevant authority has to look for alternate land. This process was not followed.

On 26 November, 2019, the ONGC wound up its shale exploration programme, including the one in Krishna, midway after spending five years and hundreds of crores of rupees, concluding that India may not have enough commerciallyextractable shale reserve.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Refusal to give up land for the project, Opposition against environmental degradation, Complaint against procedural violations

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Private

Type of Common Land

Total investment involved (in Crores):

217

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Year of Estimation

Has the Conflict Ended?

Yes

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Environmental Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

  1. Environment (Protection) Act, 1986

    Section 3 (1) [The Central Government has the powers to take measures to protect, improve the quality of the environment and prevent, control and abate environmental pollution]; Section 3 (2) (iv), (v) & (viii) [The measures taken by the Central Government may include- setting standards for emission or discharge of environmental pollutants from any source; Partial or complete restriction of certain areas from certain industries, processes and operations; Examining manufacturing processes, materials and substances that can cause environmental pollution]; Section 6 (2) (e) [The Central Government has the power to make rules restricting or prohibiting industries to be established in certain locations, and regarding processes and operations]

  2. Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006

    Para 2 [Offshore and onshore oil and gas exploration activities shall require prior environmental clearance from the concerned regulatory authority]; Para 7 III. [The Prior Environmental Clearance (EC) Process for New Projects includes the stage of Public consultation]

  3. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974

    Section 16 [Function of the Central Board shall be to promote cleanliness of streams and wells]; Section 17 (1) (b) & (n) [Function of the State Board to advise the State Government on matters of prevention, control or abatement of water pollution and regarding location of any industry which can pollute a stream or well]; Section 24 [no person shall cause or permit any poisonous, noxious or polluting matter into streams and wells]; Section 25 [Prior consent of the State board to be taken for the establishment of such industry, process and operation that can pollute streams and wells]; Section 33 [Boards have the power to file an application to courts to restrain apprehended pollution of streams or wells]

  4. The Biological Diversity Act, 2002

    Section 7 [Prior intimation to be given to State Biodiversity Board for obtaining biological resource for commercial utilization]; Section 18 [Functions and powers of the National Biodiversity Authority to regulate certain activities and issue guidelines for access to biological resources, and for fair benefit sharing]; Section 23 [Function of State Biodiversity Board to advise the State government on conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of its components and equitable sharing of the benefits]; Section 24 [State Biodiversity Board has power to restrict certain activities violating the objectives of conservation, sustainable use of biodiversity and equitable sharing of benefits]

  5. The Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986

    Rule 3 [The Central Board or a State Board may specify more stringent standards for any specific industry, operation or process]; Rule 5 [Factors to be considered for Prohibiting and restricting certain locations for establishment of industries and the carrying on of processes and operations in different areas]

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?

Yes

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Yes

Name of the adjudicatory body

National Green Tribunal

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Protests/marches, Public campaign

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Government of Andhra Pradesh, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation of India

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation of India

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Communist Party of India(Marxist),Communist Party of India, Human Rights ForumAll India Progressive Forum

Resources Related to Conflict

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

Rahul Maganti

Reviewed By

Rahul Maganti

Updated By

Rahul Maganti

Edited By

Rahul MagantiLand Conflict Watch
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