Cauvery Delta of Tamil Nadu declared Protected Agricultural Zone
On February 10, 2020, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu announced that Cauvery Delta is to be declared as Protected Special Agricultural Zone. In 2019, the Central Government had awarded the oil and gas exploration projects in the Cauvery basin. This invoked large protests amid water crisis in the state. Extraction of hydro carbon requires excess amount of fresh water.
With the zone being Agricultural protected Zone, the permission of State government is required to undertake projects. This infers that oil exploration projects cannot be undertaken by the private firms without the permission of state government.
Agricultural Protection Zone
When a land is announced as Protected Agricultural Zone, it cannot be used for any other non-agricultural activities.
The Environmental Impact Assessment of 2006 that was recently amended by the central government gives permission for ONGC and other private firms. And since Cauvery Delta is rich in Hydrocarbons, it is essential to protect the agricultural land in the region.