UPSC Prelims 2020 Mock Test 27: Threat To Cauvery Delta’s Ecology From Unconventional Hydrocarbons Policy

Q.1 Consider the following:

  1. Unconventional hydrocarbons policy, approved by the central government, permits exploration and exploitation of unconventional hydrocarbons
  2. Mature organic rich Shale exists in Cambay, Krishna- Godavari (KG), Cauvery basin
  3. Coal Bed Methane (CBM) is one of the unconventional hydrocarbons

Which of the above statements is/are true?

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. 1 and 3
  4. All of the above

Ans: (d)

Policy Framework for Exploration and Exploitation of Unconventional Hydrocarbons

The Union Cabinet on August 1, 2018 approved the policy to permit exploration and exploitation of unconventional hydrocarbons such as Shale oil/gas, Coal Bed Methane (CBM) etc. It will be carried out under the existing Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs), CBM contracts and Nomination fields to encourage the existing Contractors in the licensed/leased area to unlock the potential of unconventional hydrocarbons in the existing acreages.

This policy will enable the realization of prospective hydrocarbon reserves in the existing Contract Areas which otherwise would remain unexplored and unexploited.

Presence of Shale oil/gas has a strong possibility in basins such as Cambay, Krishna- Godavari (KG), Cauvery etc. where mature organic rich Shale exist.  An area of 72,027 sq. km. held under PSCs of Pre- New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP)/NELP regime and 5269 sq. km area under CBM contracts has been opened up for simultaneous exploration and exploitation of conventional or unconventional hydrocarbons.

Protected Agricultural Zone Development Bill, 2020

Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly passed the Protected Agricultural Zone Development Bill, 2020 on February 19, 2020 to protect Cauvery Delta. The new Act declared the Cauvery delta region a Protected Special Agriculture Zone (PSAZ). It proposed to protect agriculture and prohibit Petroleum, Chemical and Petrochemical Investment Regions (PCPIRs) and hydrocarbon projects in the delta region.

The proposed PSAZ comprises Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts and some blocks in Cuddalore and Pudukkottai districts. It, however, excluded Tiruchirappalli, Ariyalur and Karur districts and other parts of Cuddalore and Pudukottai, though they also fall in the delta zone.

Prelims Special: Points To Remember About Cauvery Delta
  • Tamil Nadu is blessed with 416 km of the 800 km long Kaveri and most parts of the river are running through the delta region.
  • 72 per cent of the low-lying land in Tamil Nadu falls under the delta region along the coast.
  • The Cauvery Delta region is considered to be the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu. It also accounts for a large part of the production of foodgrain and other agricultural produce in the state.
  • A delta is a sheet of land that is either at sea level or at a slight elevation. Since the Cauvery delta is low, silt accumulation from the river was a crucial element in maintaining equilibrium and stopping the sea from invading the coast.