Wednesday 7 November 2012
, Chennai, Wed Nov 07 2012, 00:23
Taking stock of the oil spill in Nagapattinam district in Tamil Nadu where a leak from an abandoned ONGC pipeline affected a large area of under-cultivation farmland, Union Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said Tuesday she would apprise Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily of the losses suffered by the farmers and also the impact the spill would have on their livelihood in the coming years.
Natarajan will have a meeting with Moily to seek a detailed protocol and stricter standard operating procedure for preventive action against such occurrences.
Invoking relevant sections of the Environment Protection Act, the ministry is also going to ask the ONGC to probe all the pipelines that are lying unused and decommissioned and file a report. The incident has left officials in the Environment Ministry and Central Pollution Control Board worried that there could be many more such pipelines going undetected mainly because the oil company does not have a computerized system of detecting such leaks.
Later in the evening, ONGC agreed to pay a compensation of Rs 47,500 per acre within 15 days. It was decided at a meeting between company officials, farmers and the district administration.
Speaking to the media after inspecting the fields in Keezhvelur and Karunavali villages in Nagapattinam district that forms a part of the Cauvery Delta, the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu, Jayanthi said the question was not just about the compensation to be provided to the affected farmers for their immediate loss.
“They will not be able to cultivate for the next three years because the oil has seeped deep into the soil. It is not just cultivation. Fish at the aquaculture farms have died, and there are other health complications as well. All these will have to be taken into consideration,” she said.
Farmers said the spill has completely destroyed crops in over 15 acres and seriously affected 100 acres. The small irrigation channel carried the oil slick to an approximate total of 300 acres of paddy fields, the effects of which would be felt not just this year but the coming years too.
See online : Indian Express