GAIL pipeline project faces stiff opposition from villagers in Nangur
NAGAPATTINAM: Villagers from Nangur near Sirkazhi are the latest to come out in opposition to a GAIL pipeline-laying project. The underground pipelines are to be laid near Sirkazhi. After resistance from Vettangudi villagers in February, the earthing process for the pipelines has run into opposition in Nangur for the past one week. The project was stopped on April 13 after a protest.
A peace meeting was convened after the elections on Wednesday but a compromise could not be reached between villagers, farmers, GAIL and revenue officials. Despite attempts at a compromise, the villagers staged a walkout.
“Other villages may have shown less resistance as they have more fallow than cultivated lands on the route the pipes are being laid. But in Nangur, everything is about agriculture and we will lose it with this project. Some of our farmers have been lured into land acquisition without being given proper explanations. We would not allow the laying of pipelines if it affects our cultivation,” said R Mamallan of Nangur.
The pipes were reportedly being laid between Pazhayapalayam near Sirkazhi to Maemathur near Tharangambadi over a distance of 29 km. The pipes are capable of transporting six lakh cubic metres of fuel from ONGC exploration wells in Pazhayapalayam and to a natural gas plant in Maemathur. The pipes pass through Vembadi, Vettangudi, Edamanal, Thirunagari and Nangur. The pipes are being planted at a depth of 1.5 metres and have a diameter of 24 inches.
“Neither the district administration nor GAIL has taken steps to clear the concerns of farmers that the pipelines would not affect our fields and neighbouring fields,” said S Nedunchezhiyan of Nangur.
A GAIL official said, “GAIL pipes have been laid at over 250 locations places in the delta for the past 25 years. There were not too many cases of leakage from the pipes. Even if there are reports of leaks, we are fully prepared to prevent them from polluting fields.”
Meanwhile, pipelaying process resumed in Nangur amid police protection on Thursday. “The revenue and police officials assured of a bigger peace meeting where all the stakeholders would be convened. However, everyone went back on their words, and they went ahead with the project,” said a farmer.