No Mahanadi drilling until study on Olive Ridley turtles

Vol 9, PW 3 (18 May 05) News in Brief

Oil companies will not be permitted to drill in the Mahanadi basin until the environment ministry completes studies on the nesting and migration patterns of the endangered Olive Ridley turtles.

The decision was made on 11th May in a meeting between the oil and environment ministries, chaired by oil minister Mani Shankar Aiyar. It was also agreed that the studies would be carried out by the environment ministrys Wildlife Institute of India.

Worst hit by this decision is Reliance Industries, which was banned from drilling last January until it carried out detailed studies on patterns of turtle migration and nesting. A month later Reliance hired Orissas Berhampur University to carry out the study but will now be forced to start all over again in light of the governments latest decision.

The environment ministry says the study can be completed in three or four months, says an oil ministry source.

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