ONGC, GAIL restrained from going ahead with methane gas project in Tamil Nadu
The southern bench of the National Green Tribunal has granted an interim injunction restraining ONGC and GAIL from going ahead with a methane gas project in Thanjavur and Thiruvarur districts.
P R Pandia of Mannargudi in Thiruvarur district said Oil and Natural Gas Commission had initiated a Coal Bed Methane (CBM) exploration and production project on the Cauvery river in Thanjavur and Thiruvarur districts.
The state government constituted a multi-disciplinary committee to study the adverse impact of the project. It also said if the project even marginally harmed the Cauvery delta, regarded as the state's rice bowl, the government would not allow the project. After a gas leakage in 2014, which was followed by protest from people, the state and the Union government cancelled the licence to ONGC in July 2014.
The commission, however, suddenly restarted the project "in a clandestine manner" without obtaining prior approval from authorities in July 2015.
ONGC along with the state-owned natural gas processing and distribution company GAIL were attempting to exploit the natural resources like crude oil, natural gas and methane without following the mandatory requirements. This would result in environmental degradation and loss of precious mineral resources.
On Wednesday, M R Gokul Krishnan, counsel for the Tamil Nadu government, appeared before the second bench of judicial member Justice P Jyothimani and expert member R Nagendran.
Issuing notice to ONGC and GAIL, the bench granted an interim injunction till Monday. It also appointed MDMK leader Vaiko as the amicus curiae (someone who is not a party to the case but being well versed in the matter who can assist the court) in the matter.