Chennai, Feb 9 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami on Sunday said the Cauvery delta region will be declared as a 'protected agricultural zone'.The announcement has been welcomed by several political parties.Laying the foundation for the Advanced Institute for Integrated Research on Livestock and Animal Sciences (AIIRLIVAS) in Salem district, Palaniswami said the Cauvery delta region will be declared as protected agricultural zone.He said the government will come out with a law after consulting legal experts in this regard. Palaniswami said it was DMK that brought the controversial hydrocarbon exploration projects. But it was only AIADMK government that prevented such projects.He said Cauvery delta region is near the coast and there is a risk of sea water incursion and hence this region should be protected.In order to secure Tamil Nadu's food security the Cauvery delta region will be classified as protected agricultural zone.The districts comprising under the Cauvery delta region are Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Trichy, Ariyalur, Nagapattinam, Pudukkottai, Cuddalore and Karur. He said farmers' living conditions have improved in Tamil Nadu owing to free cattle scheme.Palaniswami said his government will not allow any projects that would affect the farmers.Farmers in the Cauvery delta region witnessed several protests by farmers and opposition parties over permission given for hydrocarbon exploration projects.Palaniswami's announcement comes in the wake of Central government amending the provisions of the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, for exploration drilling in respect of on-shore and off-shore oil and gas. As per the amendment these projects do not require public consultation.The Chief Minsiter also announced the state government will not give permission for hydro-carbon exploration projects in this region thereby preventing them turning to desert.
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