Wadge Bank facing threat from hydrocarbon exploration

Chennai: Wadge Bank, a 10,000 square kilometre area of the sea south of Kanyakumari that is rich in biodiversity and considered India’s richest fishery resource, is facing a threat from the Government of India’s proposal to offer three oil and gas blocks for exploration and development under the Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP)

In the fact, the three blocks for which the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and the Directorate of Hydro-Carbon had put out notice inviting offers for exploration overlap the Wadge Bank, where the low intensity of currents, waves and tides make it an ideal place for building a wealth of nutrients and fish food.

If the proposal for oil exploration in the three blocks identified by the government was carried out, it would have a deleterious impact on the ecosystem, former senior bureaucrat and civil society activist M G Devasahayam said in his letter to the Union Fisheries Department Secretary, Abilash Likhi.

Devasahayam, who hails from Kanyakumari district, wanted the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to withdraw the bids that it had floated for the exploration without diligence, Environmental and Economic Impact Assessment and consultation with the public who were likely to be affected.

Requesting the Union Fisheries secretary to intervene in the matter to ensure that the basic requirements were adhered to before proceeding further, Devasahayam said the Wadge Bank was one among the handful of such rich biodiversity spots in the world and the mainstay of marine resources for fisherfolks of the southern districts adjoining Kanyakumari.

‘Oil Exploration could destroy all that pushing the fishing community in this part of the country to poverty and penury. Besides, industrial activity as well as pollution caused by Oil Exploration could ravage the ocean ecosystem leading to unpredictable consequences,’ he said in the letter to Likhi.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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