Despite Madras HC order, GAIL grid faces an uphill task
Even though the Madras High Court has given the nod for laying the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) pipeline in seven districts of Tamil Nadu, the work in three districts of Kerala remains completely stalled following the resistance of the public.
The notification for completing the procedure for pipeline ends on March 31, 2014, and if a solution is not evolved, the project will get further delayed.
Even if pipelines are laid in Tamil Nadu, they have to be connected with the line from Kerala passing through Palakkad so that the network is fully linked.
GAIL sources said that, in the second phase 505 kilometre pipes have to be laid and only 10 per cent of work has been completed. The major hindrance is reported from Kannur, Malappuram and Kozhikode districts. Though several rounds of meetings were held in these districts with the people’s representatives, government officials and those affected by the laying of the pipes, it has been decided not to give permission for the same. Taking into consideration the sentiments of the public, the people’s representatives do not want to go ahead with the project and they have decided to wait for the state government to take a decision on the issue.
GAIL sources said that they will abandon the project if the people continue resisting the move to lay the pipes, which will be a great blow to the economy of the state as well as the Green Revolution. People are still ignorant about the benefits of using Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) which can bring down even the cost of power generation.
Kozhikode District Collector C A Latha said that Industries Principal Secretary P H Kurian had held a video-conferencing with the collectors of three districts in this regard. The state government do not want to abandon the project, but it should be commissioned after taking the public into confidence.
The district collectors have been asked to convene a meeting with the public, whose land will be used for laying the pipes, to create awareness on the need to go ahead with the project. There is still apprehension that the land through which the pipes are laid cannot be used for any other purpose in future.
However, GAIL sources said that permission is needed only for the Right of Use of the land. After laying the pipes, the land could be used for any other purposes by the owners, it said.
The proposed pipeline from Kochi passes through Thrissur, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Kannur to reach Mangalore. The work is badly affected on this stretch. The line to Tamil Nadu will be diverted from Kuttanad and pass through Palakkad to reach Coimbatore.
Though the partial commissioning of the LNG Terminal at Puthuvype has benefited the industrial units in and around Kochi, the state will get the desired results only after laying the pipes as per the proposed plan.
At the LNG Terminal, only eight per cent of the total capacity is used as the pipelines are yet to be extended to other parts of the state.
The total capacity of LNG Terminal is five million metric tonnes per annum. GAIL sources said that, if the pipeline work in Kerala is completed, the total capacity of the terminal could be utilised within a year.