NEW DELHI/CHENNAI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday quashed a Tamil Nadu government notification that restrained gas transmission company GAIL India Ltd from laying pipelines criss-crossing farmlands across seven districts in the State as part of the Kochi-Mangalore natural gas pipeline project.
The State government had asked GAIL to lay the pipeline along the national highways and not through the farmland. The 504-km pipeline costing Rs 3,000 crore passes through five districts of Tamil Nadu, with farmers saying it affects several acres of farmland.
A bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur, Justices A K Sikri and R Banumathi asked how a State government could intervene in a contract between the Central government and GAIL. The Apex Court further said that the State government, which has supported the farmers, has no jurisdiction to seek re-alignment of the pipeline. The court has allowed enhanced compensation of 30 per cent, which is over and above the statutory compensation of 10 per cent of the market value of the project. The court also said in its order that the State government will determine the modalities of the compensation to be given to farmers.
GAIL said that it had obtained all necessary clearances and had already invested Rs 600 crore in the project. GAIL even claimed that a majority of farmers had no objections to the plan.
The Tamil Nadu government and the farmers’ association had moved the apex court challenging a Madras High Court order, which had quashed a notification of the State government prohibiting GAIL India from implementing the project passing through agricultural lands in seven districts of the State.
Feb 9, 2012: Union Ministry of Environment and Forests clears Kochi-Koottanad-Bangalore-Mangalore pipeline project
Jun 12, 2012: Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board approves the 1,104-km natural gas pipeline
Feb 9, 2013: Amid stiff protests from farmers, GAIL begins its pipeline laying work in Tirupur and Erode districts
March 25, 2013: CM J Jayalalithaa asks company to remove pipelines that had already been laid on agricultural lands
April 29, 2013: GAIL moves Madras High Court
Nov 25, 2013: Madras High Court gives nod for GAIL’s pipeline project in Tamil Nadu
Nov 29, 2013: TN government moves Supreme Court against the Madras High Court’s judgment
April 17, 2014: Following protests, GAIL decides to cancel contracts worth `210 crore for laying the 310-km Tamil Nadu stretch of the pipeline
Feb 2, 2016: Supreme Court quashes TN government notification that restrained the company from laying pipelines through farmlands