Laying of pipelines for carrying regassified LNG (liquefied natural gas) from Puthuvype to Kochi and beyond is on schedule and no hitch is expected, according to GAIL (India) Limited officials here.

There have been some enquiries from the Forest Department about certain patches of land in Palakkad where the pipeline is to pass through. These are normal queries and are being replied to, a senior official of GAIL told The Hindu on Tuesday.

GAIL has already laid a 30-inch pipeline from Puthuvype to Udyogamandal in Kochi, from where pipes of lesser diameter will be extended to Ambalamugal. The pipeline will have to pass through the land of SmartCity and the Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL). The nod for laying the pipeline through the stretch occupied by the NPOL, pending before the Defence Ministry, is expected soon. Permission for the work on the stretch owned by SmartCity is being sought from the respective authorities.

The work on the Kochi-Bangalore line is scheduled to commence in February. The Bangalore-based authorities of the Forest Department had raised queries on the ownership of land spread over a 5-km stretch in areas under the control of the department in Palakkad.

The official said GAIL is laying the pipeline under the ‘right of use' clause pertaining to land ownership and the question of land acquisition does not arise. The project has a national perspective and no private interests are involved. As such, the pipeline project is not expected to face serious hurdles, he said. The clearance of the Ministry of Environment and Forests is required to be sought in case the work is carried out in polluted areas. The Palakkad stretch does not fall under such a category and any existing litigation on land ownership is not likely to affect the project, he said.

In Kerala, the pipeline being laid by GAIL will pass through the districts of Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur, Alappuzha, and Kasargod. A joint venture company with the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation, Kerala Gail Gas Limited, has been formed to participate in the bidding of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board for distribution of city gas in Kerala.

GAIL is developing the natural gas infrastructure in Kerala in view of the expected commissioning of the Petronet LNG project for supplying regassified LNG (liquefied natural gas) this year. The proposed Kochi-Koottanad-Bangalore-Mangalore pipeline will pass through Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, apart from Kerala. GAIL is scheduled to complete the first phase of pipeline, extending 50 km, by August. In the second phase, laying of 720 km of pipeline will be completed by March 2013. A 120-km subsea pipeline is also being laid from Puthuvype to Kayamkulam to provide gas to an NTPC unit there. There is also a plan to take the gas to Thiruvananthapuram by laying pipelines to the capital city.

Keywords: GAIL project

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