NAGAPATTINAM: A proposal by GAIL India seeking to acquire land to lay a pipeline from ONGC’s Madhanam field in Sirkazhi to its network in Memathur in Tharangambadi has met with stiff opposition from locals.
Information about the proposed project became clear to general public on Thursday after notices were put up in the village administrative offices (VAOs) in 18 villages between Sirkazhi and Tharambabadi, through which the pipeline would be laid. The pipeline from Madhanam to Memathur covers a distance of 29 km, and around 45 hectares are to be acquired, including farm lands, in 17 villages.
According to sources, GAIL has finalised the pipeline and identified the land required between Madanam and Memathur. The survey was apparently carried out in 2016-2017 and survey numbers of the 45 hectares required in the 17 villages was sourced from revenue department.
Land would be acquired from villages including Thalaiyudaiyurkovilpattu, Madappuram, Thiruchamballi, Mudikondanallur, Pazhaiyapalayam, Varisaipathuvadagal, Kalahasthinathapuram and Memathur in Tharangambadi taluk and Thiruvaali, Thiruvenkadu, Kidarangondan, Mukkarumbur, Nangur, Edamanal, Keelasattanathapuram, Thirunagari, Vettangudi and Radhanallur in Sirkazhi taluk. A gas pipeline currently exists between ONGC’s Narimanam and Kuthalam fields. Details of survey numbers have been notified in Gazette of Government of India on February 2.
Only after this, GAIL is informing locals about the land acquisition through the VAO offices. Locals allege they were unaware of any of the developments and refused to give up any land.
Speaking to Express, Angudhan of Koozhaiyar village said, “The delta has already been completely devastated by oil and natural gas extraction works. In between, the Union government announced the Petrochemical and Petroleum Investment Region in Sirkazhi. Due to the presence of ONGC’s Madhanam field in Pazhaiyapalayam at Sirkazhi, more than 10 villages have been badly affected. Apart from gas, ONGC is also extracting oil from Iruvakkollai, Thandavankulam and five other villages. As the field is in the middle of farmlands, agriculture on 10,000 acres has taken a hit.”
He added, “Now, GAIL is looking to install massive pipelines to carry gas from Madhanam field to its Memathur pipeline over a distance of 29 km. We will not accept it. As the project will pass through farmlands, about 30,000 acres will be affected. We oppose the project and it should be halted. The Sagarmala project is another major issue as it will affect coastal areas and farmers. If Coastal Management Zone plans are implemented, fishermen would lose their livelihood. We are also opposed to this as are the fishermen.”
Vilwanathan, district president, Dry and Wet Land Farmers Association, said, “If GAIL is set to install the pipeline, we will oppose the project in a big way as more than 30,000 acres of farmlands will be affected.”
When contacted, revenue officials said, “The project was approved by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in 2016 and the work structure released in the gazette of the Indian government on January 30. The gazette notification clearly said how many acres are required for the work and in which villages. We have just passed on the gazette information to the locals.”