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Protected Special Agricultural Zone’ (PSAZ)

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

Protected Special Agricultural Zone’ (PSAZ)

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: PSAZ- features, need for and significance.

Context: Tamil Nadu CM declares Cauvery Delta as Protected Special Agriculture Zone. A law in this regard will be enacted soon. The protected zone will include Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam districts and delta regions of Trichy, Ariyalur, Cuddalore and Pudukkottai.

Significance:

PSAZ is aimed at protecting the Cauvery delta region for the future, fulfilling TN’s food requirements and ensuring the welfare of delta farmers. It has recognised farmer concerns about hydrocarbon exploration and accorded primacy to food security.

Need for:

The delta, which produces 33 lakh tonnes of grains in 28 lakh acres, has seen multiple protests for a decade over methane, hydrocarbon, oil and natural gas projects, which required acquisition of fertile lands and well drilling — proposals which triggered fears of groundwater contamination.

Challenges ahead:

Tamil Nadu now has to enact legislation to protect a vast region, largely in the coastal area, from industries that would affect farming.

The State has its challenges:

  1. In 2017, a government notification delineated 45 villages covering about 23,000 hectares in Cuddalore and Nagapattinam districts in the delta, as a Petroleum, Chemical and Petrochemical Investment Region, with an eye on over ₹90,000 crore in investments. The proposed PSAZ raises a question mark on this ambitious scheme.
  2. The government may have to brave central pressure and litigation from companies which pumped in money for exploration.
  3. The decision may also have implications for the State’s investment climate.

Sources: the Hindu.