Much of the opposition during the review meeting chaired by Deputy Commissioner A.B. Ibrahim, stemmed from "bitter experiences" from the petrol pipeline that was laid there by HPCL/Petronet in 2001.

Even after promises of higher compensation and better restoration of land, residents of Mangalore taluk whose land falls under the proposed Mangalore-Bangalore gas pipeline have expressed opposition to the project.

Much of the opposition during the review meeting chaired by Deputy Commissioner A.B. Ibrahim here on Saturday, stemmed from “bitter experiences” from the petrol pipeline that was laid there by HPCL/Petronet in 2001. The new-proposed Rs. 660-crore LPG pipeline – from Mangalore to Bangalore – runs parallel to this.

Kishore Rao, from Kandawara village, Gurupura, said the compensation offered was “too low”; while, Sheikh Sharif, from Kenjar village, said the land with the pipeline was a white elephant as no buyer would be interested in it.

As the land will be temporarily acquired under the Petroleum and Minerals Pipeline (Right of User in Land) Act, 1962 – that is, and after the laying of the underground pipe, the land will be handed back – the land losers are given just around 10 per cent of the guidance value.

Low compensation

Even though Special Land Acquisition officer Krishna Murthy said the guidance value was being increased four times to ensure higher compensation, the amount works to a little more than Rs. 4,000 per cent. “The market value is around Rs. 25,000 per cent. We demand at least Rs. 22,500 as compensation,” said Mr. Rao.

He said after the laying of the pipe, the land returned was of “no use”. “The top soil is completely eroded, while the soil is full of rocks that have been blasted through. There cannot be cultivation on this land,” he said. He added that as the work is given to a contractor, who sub-contracts it further, the original plans are not implemented.

The land-losers were sceptical of assurances by HPCL that the “new” method of laying pipes involved restoring the top soil intact. “For two years after the project, HPCL will compensate for lowering agricultural yields on the land acquired,” said an official, who claimed of greater supervision of work in this project.

Unlike the last project, the contractor will get money only after residents have given their no objection certificate, said the HPCL official.

There was stringent opposition at a similar meeting conducted on Saturday at Neriya in Belthangady taluk, where 7.12 acres is to be acquired for a pump house.

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