The Chief Secretary allayed fears on the safety of pipelines passing through various areas.

Chief Secretary E.K.Bharat Bhushan has said that the first phase of the city gas project would be completed by the end of next year.

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board, the sanctioning authority on gas distribution and pipeline works, has already initiated the process for calling tenders for the project.

He allayed apprehensions on the safety of natural gas as well as pipelines passing through various areas. The gas is safe and a network comprising thousands of kilometres of pipes carrying natural gas has already been commissioned in various parts of the country.

The laying of pipelines in the northern districts of Kerala has faced undue delays owing to opposition from people in the area. Pipelines have been laid along 50 km stretch in the Kochi-Koottanad stretch as part of the Kochi-Bangalore-and Kochi-Mangalore network. The government hoped to remove the fears of the people, he said. The Madras High Court recently rejected a plea by farmers’ organisations to stop the laying of pipelines through farm land there. The government’s support would be sought to launch work there, K.P.Ramesh, a senior official of GAIL said.

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