CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government on Thursday decided to file a review petition over the Supreme Court’s February 2 verdict giving the nod to the `3,400 crore Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) project which passes through seven districts of the State. Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa who chaired a high-level meeting on this issue at the Secretariat, advised officials to file the review petition and also referred to the points to be raised before the court. The review petition is likely to be filed within a day or two. Almost all political parties in the State and farmers’ associations vehemently opposed the green signal given to the project and urged the State government to file a review petition.
On March 25, 2013, the Chief Minister categorically stated that her government would not be a party to the implementation of any project which would affect the livelihood resources of the people and asked GAIL to stop all works on the 310-km Kochi-Bangalore gas-pipeline project in Tamil Nadu and return the lands already used for the project to the farmers and land owners. She had also suggested that the pipeline should be laid alongside the national highways so that it would not affect the farmers.
The State government has been maintaining that the delay in implementing the GAIL project is not merely due to a law and order problem but involves a complex socio-economic issue affecting the livelihood of about 5,500 poor farmers. In one of the special leave petitions seeking stay of the project, filed before the Apex Court in 2013, the State government referred to the large-scale violence and agitations in Nandigram and Singur villages in West Bengal due to farmland acquisition and said that similar sentiments have been coming to the fore in Tamil Nadu.
The government also said the State is alive to the fact that this project is in the national interest.
“National interest does not mean that it should be at the cost of the lives and livelihoods of a large number of poor farmers,” it added. The government also observed that just because more permissions need to be taken and that the new alignment will be more expensive, it is no excuse to reject the proposal of Tamil Nadu to have the pipelines along the NHs when the same has been done in the States of Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.