A resident of Madurai has moved the Madras High Court (Madurai Bench) seeking a direction to the State Government to facilitate the laying of a gas pipeline by the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) in the western districts as part of its Kochi-Bangalore project.
The project was stalled in Tamil Nadu earlier this year after farmers in Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode, Namakkal, Salem, Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts launched a series of agitations opposing the crisscrossing of pipelines through their farmlands.
Subsequently Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had asked GAIL to stop work on the project and find an alternative route to lay the pipelines.
In a public interest litigation petition, S Tamizharasan, president of a Madurai-based consumer rights group, submitted that the GAIL project was aimed at laying pipelines to supply piped natural gas to households. Further the pipeline would be used for supplying Compressed Natural Gas to public carriers, trucks and auto rickshaws.
The stalling of the project due to non-cooperation by the administration was a setback to the power starved industries in Tamil Nadu which had entered into an agreement with GAIL, he contended. According to him, in other parts of the country like Mumbai and New Delhi piped gas was being supplied and in Karnataka gas pipeline has been laid for a stretch of 1,000 km. Since the permission for laying the pipeline was given to GAIL in 2007 itself, the public sector company had commenced work on it.
Hearing the plea, a bench comprising Justices S Rajeswaran and T Mathivanan issued notices to the Principal Secretaries of Home Department and Industries Department to reply by July 12.