Kochi

City piped gas project hanging fire

Though piped gas has been given to households in municipalities such as Kalamassery, the project is held up in Kochi Corporation owing to conflicting claims on approvals for road trenching and repairs. Picture shows gas pipelines being laid at Kangarappady in Kalamassery.

Though piped gas has been given to households in municipalities such as Kalamassery, the project is held up in Kochi Corporation owing to conflicting claims on approvals for road trenching and repairs. Picture shows gas pipelines being laid at Kangarappady in Kalamassery.   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

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Kochi Corporation and Indian Oil-Adani Gas spar over road restoration rates

Piped natural gas continues to elude the city as the Kochi Corporation and Indian Oil-Adani Gas Pvt. Ltd. (IOAG) have conflicting claims to make about approvals for road trenching and repairs.

An approval that was given appears not to have reached the ears of those who sought it. “Only a request to trench a 4-km stretch within the Corporation had reached us,” said P. M. Harris, chairman, Corporation Standing Committee for Works. “Both the standing committee and the council had approved it a little more than a year ago. No other files are pending with us,” Mr. Harris said.

IOAG was given sanction to trench the road and pay the Corporation the amount for repairs.

“The company can pay the restoration charges as per the PWD rates and proceed with the laying of pipelines. If work has not begun yet, the Corporation has nothing to do with it,” Mr. Harris maintained.

The company had initially submitted an application to lay pipelines on the 4-km Thevara-Thykoodam stretch, said Ajay Pillai, asset head, IOAG, Ernakulam. This was followed by further applications for smaller stretches within the city and approvals for none of these had been given, Mr. Pillai maintained.

Providing piped natural gas to all households within the Corporation limits would necessitate laying of pipelines along around 900 km of roads, Mr. Pillai said. But additional permissions would be sought only once initial approvals, at least for the 4 km stretch, were obtained, he added.

“We have received no approval. When a copy is given to us, we will begin the work,” Mr. Pillai said.

The Corporation, on the other hand, claims to have approved the sole application that was given to them. Following a confusion over the restoration rates, with the Corporation claiming that the original rate of a little over ₹3,000 per square metre would be insufficient for repairs, revised PWD rates were applied, amounting to ₹5,390 per square metre.

“IOAG would now have to pay around ₹2.24 crore, including GST, to the Corporation for the restoration of the stretch they want to dig up. Despite the order being given to them a year ago, they have not paid up and have deliberately delayed the work,” said a Corporation engineer who handled the files.

The company had later approached the Corporation with another request to restore the road themselves, the engineer said, but that was not permitted.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 9:50:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/city-piped-gas-project-hanging-fire/article30153283.ece

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