The Madras High Court on Tuesday reserved orders on a batch of writ petitions relating to the natural gas pipeline project of GAIL India Ltd.

The First Bench comprising the Acting Chief Justice R.K.Agrawal and Justice M.Sathyanarayanan reserved orders on conclusion of arguments, including that of the Additional Solicitor-General of India, P.Wilson.

One of the petitions is by GAIL itself which had challenged the Tamil Nadu government’s direction to lay the pipeline along the national highways without affecting agricultural lands.

As per the project, the pipeline is to be laid for distribution of natural gas from Kochi terminal to Bangalore. Nearly 300 km of the pipeline was to pass through Coimbatore, Tirupur, Salem, Erode, Namakkal, Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts. GAIL said it had already invested Rs.685 crore out of the total project cost of nearly Rs.3,000 crore. In the wake of protests by land owners in the seven districts, on April 2 this year, the State government directed GAIL to lay the pipeline alongside the NH without affecting agricultural lands. Earlier, the court had granted an interim injunction restraining the state government from taking any coercive action to remove the pipeline already laid by the company in the State.

Two other petitions had also been filed seeking a direction for the implementation of the project.

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