The Madras High Court bench here on Friday ordered notice to the managing director of Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL), the Union and the State governments on a public interest writ petition seeking speedy implementation of the Kochi-Kottanad-Bangalore-Mangalore natural gas pipeline project in Tamil Nadu.

The petitioner, S. Thamizharasan, a Madurai-based advocate, told the court through his counsel P. Veerakathiravan that the machinery to lay the pipeline had reached Coimbatore, Salem, Erode, Namakkal, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri and Tirupur districts already. However, the project was stalled because of State government’s non-cooperation, he alleged.

According to Mr Veerakathiravan, the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, the Union Ministry of Transport and the GAIL had spent several hundred crores of the public money for the project. But the State failed to provide the necessary administrative support to implement the project in Tamil Nadu, he contended.

“The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas had given the authorisation to lay the pipeline in 2007. GAIL has laid a gas grid covering more than 10,000 km in various parts of India, except in Tamil Nadu. If the Southern Gas Grid is not laid in Tamil Nadu, the State will be totally cut off from the National Gas Grid and the people of Tamil Nadu will not get the natural gas,” he further said.

Mr. Veerakathiravan pleaded that the court direct GAIL to bring the gas pipeline to all the cities of Tamil Nadu to reduce pollution by vehicles. “Once the pipeline is laid expeditiously, all public transport vehicles such as buses, mini-buses and taxis will start using the compressed natural gas as fuel. Therefore, a direction is liable to be issued to GAIL to supply compressed natural gas (CNG) to all the cities in Tamil Nadu. Adequate infrastructure should be made for the storage and distribution of the CNG,” he contended.

A Division Bench comprising Justices S. Rajeswaran and T. Mathivanan ordered notice and adjourned the case by two weeks.