KOCHI: The prestigious Kochi-Koottanad-Bengaluru-Mangaluru pipeline project (KKBMPL), which had been bogged down by land acquisition delays and protests in Kozhikode and Malappuram over fears of displacement of residents, is finally getting ready.
In a big first step, the Kochi-Koottanad (Thrissur-Palakkad border) stretch covering 96 km, which comes as part of the Phase-II of the project, was commissioned quietly on Monday, while the work on Koottanad-Kozhikkode-Mangalore stretch, covering about 350 km, is expected to be over by next month or early August.
Tony Mathew, general manager (construction), GAIL, which is executing the project, said only four km out of the 444-km pipeline from Kochi to Mangalore remains to be completed. “The four-km pipeline through water bodies viz., Kuttiyadi, Eravazhinjipuzha, Chaliyar in Kozhikode, Chandragiri in Kasaragod and Netravati in Mangalore is taking time. We hope to lay the pipeline and supply gas to Mangalore by July 31 or August,” he told Express.
The natural gas pipeline is runs through the districts of Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikkode, Kannur and Kasaragod in Kerala; Coimbatore, Erode, Salem and Dharmapuri in Tamil Nadu; and Dakshin Kannada, Chamrajnagar, Mandya and Bengaluru in Karnataka.
The Phase-I of the project, the around 41 km pipeline was commissioned back in 2013 to transport gas from Kochi LNG Terminal to the consumers in and around Kochi city, including industrial units such as the public sector FACT. In the Phase-I, 35 lakh cubic metre (3.5 MMSCMD) of gas is being supplied to various consumers in and around Kochi city.
Mathew said the Rs 2,915 crore project, which first began back in 2009, was to be completed by March 2013, as per the earlier plan. The delay and the increase in land prices has escalated the project cost.
Mathew said the total project cost is now estimated at Rs 5751 crore-Rs 3226 crore for Kochi-Mangalore; and Rs 2525 crore for Koottanad to Bangalore. He said out of the 435 km from Koottanad-Bangaluru, works were in progress on the 94 km stretch from Koottanad to Walayar (Kerala border) and 48-km on the Bengaluru to Hosur stretch. “Work in the Tamil Nadu portion has not started yet,” the GAIL general manager said.
“We hope to complete the Palakkad-Bengaluru work by December this year,” Mathew said.