ONGC Oil Leak: Jayanthi for Compensation to Farmers
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Taking serious note of the crude oil leak affecting cultivable land in two villages of this district, Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan today said she would recommend to the Petroleum Ministry for adequate compensation to the affected farmers.

"The farmers won't be able to cultivate the land for the next three years as the oil had seeped into the fields to a great extent," she told reporters after visiting the Keezhavelur and Karunavali villages.

More than 10 acres of farm land have been affected due to leak of crude oil from an abandoned pipeline belonging to the ONGC.

The pipeline had been laid to take crude oil to the Narimanam refineries. The pipeline was abandoned as it developed cracks, officials said.

Natarajan said she would speak to Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily and arrange for adequate compensation for the affected farmers.

The minister held discussions with farmers regarding the extent of damage and assured them that assistance would be provided in getting suitable compensation.

"We will hold talks with the Petroleum Ministry on the measures to be taken to avoid any such oil spills in any part of the country," Natarajan said.

Steps will also be taken to minimise the environmental impact of the present spill.

"We will recommend the Oil Ministry to completely remove the oil deposits in the decommissioned pipeline in this area," she said.

She said in other parts of the world, oil companies were making use of the computerised technology to check for leaks in oil pipelines. "We will recommend adoption of such measures in India also in the interest of protecting the environment," she said.

Meanwhile, ONGC has assured payment of compensation to the affected farmers.

Officials said tripartite talks involving the farmers, ONGC authorities and Revenue officials had begun today.

ONGC has offered to pay Rs.47,500 per acre as compensation. It had also undertaken to restore the farm lands to their original state, officials said.
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