The natural gas development by RIL is adversely impacting agricultural activity in the fertile “rice bowl” area of the Godavari districts in Andhra Pradesh, former Union secretary EAS Sarma said in a letter
EAS Sarma, former secretary of the Government of India, has again raised the issue of land subsidence in the Krishna Godavari (KG) basin due to the gas development work being carried out by Reliance Industries (RIL). The natural gas development by RIL is adversely impacting agricultural activity in the fertile “rice bowl” area of the Godavari districts in Andhra Pradesh, Mr Sarma said in a letter sent to chief secretary-AP, secretary-ministry of environment & forests (MOEF) and secretary-ministry of petroleum.
Earlier, the AP High Court had directed the MOEF to re-open the environment impact appraisal of the project to assess the impact of RIL’s gas development project in KG basin. An expert group constituted by the MOEF has since submitted its report to the ministry and at present the matter is pending before the court.
The Krishna-Godavari basin is spread across over 50,000 sq km in the Krishna River and Godavari River basins in Andhra Pradesh. The site is known for the D-6 block where RIL discovered the biggest natural gas reserves in India in 2002. It was also the world's largest gas discovery of 2002.
Recently, Prof G Krishna Rao, a retired Professor of geology, who is also a petitioner in the case pending before the high court, collected extensive evidence on the land subsidence that has taken place in the KG basin. Accordingly, there is increasing ground level evidence of land subsidence taking place in the KG basin as a result of gas development by RIL, Mr Sarma said.
He said, “Such land subsidence has already started affecting the irrigation drainage channels in the basin and agricultural activity, quite significantly, as corroborated by the “crop holiday” announced by the farmers of the Godavari districts during 2011. The farmers have already started feeling the increased cost burden that could be indirectly attributed to land subsidence. The land subsidence has also affected the quality of the ground water aquifers in the area by increasing their salinity.”
Instead of addressing the root cause of the deterioration of agricultural activity, Mr Sarma said, the state government is in a hurry to incur huge expenditure on ‘modernisation’ of the irrigation system that will benefit only the contractors. Even the MOEF and the ministry of petroleum have collectively failed to address this problem and its overall impact on the economy of AP, the former secretary said.
Due to the lethargy shown by the AP government as well as the central ministries, RIL has not cared to identify the magnitude of the problem as it is primarily interested in quickly recovering its investment and earn windfall profits without addressing the larger destruction that is wrought on the environment of the region and the economy of the state, Mr Sarma alleged.
A study done by a team of experts from Andhra University, and Marine and Earth Sciences Group of the Space Application Centre, which include K Nageswara Rao, P Subraelu, KChV Naga Kumar, G Demudu, B Hema Malini, R Ratheesh, S Bhattacharya, AS Rajawat and Ajai, also revealed that the impending sea-level rise would seriously impair agricultural activities in the lower parts of the AP coastal zone, especially in the low-lying Krishna-Godavari twin delta region, which is considered as the rice-bowl of the state.
“If the sea level rises by 0.6 metres as predicted by IPCC (2007), an area of about 532 km including 150 km in the Krishna-Godavari deltas presently lying between the shoreline and the 0.6 metres elevation would be permanently submerged under the future low-tide level. Further an area of about 1,233 km including 894 km area within the Krishna-Godavari deltas lying between the present high tide line (1.5 metres) and the future high-tide line (2.1 metres) would go under the future inter-tidal zone, affecting the cropland over 319 km, aquaculture over 499 km and plantations over 279 km, besides threatening the survival of 1.29 million people living in 282 coastal villages along the entire AP coast,” the study revealed.
Here are the details of the study…
In a reply to RTI activist Subhash Agrawal, the president’s secretariat has indirectly confirmed that a letter written by Dr Subramanian Swamy to APJ Kalam led to the then President inviting Dr Manmohan Singh as the PM
Janata Party president, Dr Subramanian Swamy’s letter to the then president, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam was one of the deciding factors in the formation of the central government in 2004. Acting on the letter, Dr Kalam had invited Dr Manmohan Singh to form the government, revealed a Right to Information (RTI) query.
Dr Swamy has been claiming that he had written a letter from Chennai to President Dr Kalam before the first UPA government was formed stating that Sonia Gandhi, president of Indian National Congress cannot be made prime minister according to the provisions in the Citizenship Act. And if she is made then PM then he will challenge the decision in court.
Delhi-based activist Subhash Agrawal filed an RTI application with the president’s secretariat seeking detailed information along with documents and correspondence relating to the formation of the central government when Dr Singh was appointed prime minister for the first time in the year 2004.
In its reply, dated 26th April 2012, the secretariat said that, “Letter written by Dr Subramanian Swamy, president, Janata Party to the president was inter alia, a communication sent in confidence by him to the president, based on which the president exercised his/her discretion to appoint the prime minister under Article 75.”
However, the president’s secretariat refused to furnish the copy of the letter as asked by Mr Agrawal in his RTI application. “Disclosure would be a breach of confidentiality and fiduciary relationship and therefore attracts section 8(1) (e) of RTI Act.”
Mr Agrawal, who has now appealed with the aappellate authority at the president’s secretariat, says that, “It is surprising that when author of the letter namely Dr Subramanian Swamy is openly revealing through the media about contents of the letter, how could the president’s secretariat claim the information to be fiduciary in nature? Significantly the CPIO (chief public information officer) has himself confessed that the then Honourable President of India exercised his right to appoint the prime minister based on that letter. At the most, the CPIO could invite ‘Third Party’ comments under section 11 of RTI Act on disclosing the said letter from Dr Swamy within five days of the receipt of RTI petition, which was not done, making the provision infructuous now at this stage.
To the RTI applicant query where he had asked for copies of the correspondence and letters from political parties or individuals for staking claim to form the government before Dr Manmohan Singh was invited , the secretariat said, “as per record no political party staked claim to form the government.”
Mr Agrawal also sought clarity on whether it is true that certain individuals, political parties had objected to some particular person being invited to form the government and asked letters together with replies, if any, to any such objections. But the secretariat said that, “No records are available in this regard.”
The oil ministry feels the drop in pressure had resulted in under-utilisation or creation of excess capacity and wants to disallow cost recovery in proportion to that
New Delhi: The oil ministry has hiked the penalty it wants to impose on Reliance Industries (RIL) and its British partner BP plc for falling natural gas output from the KG-D6 fields, by 18% to $1.46 billion, reports PTI.
The ministry had previously wanted to disallow $1.235 billion expenditure that RIL had incurred on putting production facilities at the Bay of Bengal gas fields but in the seven-page notice it sent to the company on 2 May 2012, the cost to be disallowed was put at $1.462 billion, sources privy to the development said.
The drop in reservoir pressure coupled with increased water and sand ingress has seen output from Dhirubhai-1 and 3 gas fields in the deep sea KG-DWN-98/3 or KG-D6 block fall from 53-54 million metric standard cubic meters per day (mmscmd) achieved in March 2010 to 27.5 mmscmd last month, instead of rising to projected 80 mmscmd for current year.
The ministry feels the drop in pressure had resulted in under-utilisation or creation of excess capacity and wants to disallow cost recovery in proportion to that.
The Production Sharing Contract (PSC) allows an operator to deduct all capital and operating expenses from the revenue it earns from sale of hydrocarbons—called cost recovery—before sharing profits with the government.
The notice signed by A Giridhar, joint secretary (exploration) in the ministry of petroleum and natural gas, says $457 million expenditure in 2010-11 and another $1.005 billion in 2011-12 will be disallowed for cost recovery on account of excess capacity and under-utilisation of facilities.
Sources said the ministry had previously wanted to disallow $457 million of cost recovery for 2010-11 and $778 million of cost recovery in 2011-12. The ministry and its technical arm, the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) is to approve accounts for the two fiscal.
Anticipating such a move, RIL has in November last year slapped an arbitration notice on the ministry saying the PSC allows operators to recover 100% of the capital and operating expenditure and does not in anyway link the cost recovery to production.
The ministry has thus far tried to browbeat RIL into withdrawing the arbitration notice, saying that no dispute has arisen as yet but its notice of 2 May 2012 establishes there is a dispute over how much of cost can be recovered.
With the ministry refusing to appoint an arbitrator to resolve the issue, RIL had moved the Supreme Court requesting for appointment of arbitrators on behalf of the government.