‘Malabar’s development to be hit if protests continue’

Malabar’s development will hit a roadblock if protests continue against the proposed GAIL pipe-laying work and the plan of the State government to integrate it with the newly inaugurated liquefied natural gas terminal (LNG terminal) for streamlining gas supply, Minister for Power Aryadan Mohammed has said.

He was speaking after inaugurating various upgrading works under the Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programmes (RAPDRP), estimated to cost Rs.200 crore, in the city on Sunday.

Mr. Mohammed said the LNG terminal would be of no use for the people of Malabar if they remained unreceptive to the idea. “Now the strong opposition towards the project is from Kozhikode and Malappuram districts, where people remain unchanged in their stance even after frequent discussions they have had with people’s representatives and local leaders,” he said.

According to Mr. Mohammed, the Malabar region — which is already lagging behind in power generation and controlling transmission loss — would be in need of LNG to meet the increasing demands in the sector. “Of course, power generation using LNG would be a costly affair, but we could consider it as a possible alternative in the future to meet the increased demand,” he said.

Mr. Mohammed also said the State government would seriously go ahead with its plan to realise a coal-based power plant in Kerala, especially in the Malabar region, to meet the additional requirements. “Cheemeni in Kasaragod district is still in the priority list but there should be more cooperation from the local people and the people’ representatives who are already convinced of the pollution-free method of operating the plant after their visit to various successful projects outside the State,” he added.

Presenting a report on the benefits of the RAPDR programmes in Kozhikode, Chief Engineer M.A. Abdul Khader said the project would help the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) to monitor the entire transmission activities from a single control room.

“The main goal of the entire effort will be to bring down the Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT &C) losses. In the process, all the faulty metres will be replaced, besides rectifying the transmission faults” he added.

According to Mr. Khader, computerisation would be another priority area, where the billing process would become easier in 23 section offices of the KSEB. “The areas to be covered under the Rs.200-crore scheme includes Kozhikode South, Kozhikode North, Beypore, Elathur, Kunnamangalam, and Koduvally Assembly constituencies,” he added.

Minister for Panchayats and Social Justice M.K. Muneer presided over the function. M.K. Raghavan, MP, P.T.A. Rahim, MLA, KSEB Chief Engineer O. Asokan, and heads of various local self government bodies were present.