Laying of pipelines on the Kochi- Kanjirkkod-Bangalore and Kanjirkkod-Mangalore route, which had been going on at a snails pace, is set to gain momentum thanks to a ruling given by Madras High Court in a petition filed by farmers’ organisations in Tamil Nadu against Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL). The court has declined the plea of farmers for a realignment of the route along national highway.
GAILis in a position to go ahead with the pipeline project now though it is not clear whether the farmers will approach the Supreme Court against the decision.
“GAIL has no intention to initiate confrontation with the government; it will seek support from Tamil Nadu government for completing the project”, a top official of GAIL said, noting that the farmers’ plea had the backing of the State government there.
Delay in executing the pipeline project had upset schedules for gas distribution to various industries along the network. Plans for commissioning the LNG project at Kochi too experienced a delay owing to the hitch in completing the pipeline project. Though Petronet LNG Limited had commenced functioning with natural gas brought from Qatar being offloaded and distributed to FACT and BPCL in Kochi three months ago, the terminal with 5 MMTPA capacity, needs more bulk consumers to utilise its full capacity. With an indecisive phase in execution of pipeline network, several largescale consumers along the route had been facing difficulties in planning to make arrangements to receive gas.
GAIL had received approval for laying of 1,114 km of pipeline in the Kochi–Kanjirkkod–Mangalore-Bengaluru route, with an investment exceeding Rs.3,000 crore.
After having laid the pipeline from the terminal at Puthuvype to Udyogamandal in Kochi, GAIL is in the process of executing the work on the Kochi-Palakkad route where it had faced opposition from many land-owners.
Pipes have been laid along 50 km stretch in the route so far. Apprehensions about safety had been a major force behind people opposing the project.
The State government has extended support to the project and officials will initiate measures to allay the fears of people, the GAIL official said.
Various potential end-users such as Apollo Tyres, Milma, Kottakkal Aryavaidyasala and steel industries, Palakkad, can be linked to the network only after the pipeline project gets completed.
The Palakkad-Bengaluru pipeline is envisaged to link up with spurlines to Coimbatore and Salem where gas could be distributed to bulk industrial consumers there. GAIL had planned to link the Kochi-Bengaluru pipeline to the national grid, with the commissioning of Dabhol-Bangaluru gas pipeline.