Andhra Pradesh

Villagers bar OIL equipment from bridge

A view of Vivekananda Bridge across Vruddha Gouthami connecting Mummidivaram and Lanka of Thane Lanka. Photo: Special Arrangement.

A view of Vivekananda Bridge across Vruddha Gouthami connecting Mummidivaram and Lanka of Thane Lanka. Photo: Special Arrangement.   | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

A communication gap between officials of Oil India Limited (OIL) and residents of Thane Lanka village in Mummudivaram in East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh has delayed the commencement of exploration for natural gas reserves.

For nine months now, equipment used for high pressure and high temperature (HPHT) rigging has been idle, resulting in a spike in OIL’s establishment charges by Rs. 12 crore.

Vivekananda Varadhi, a 160 m long bridge across the Vruddha Gouthami, a distributary of the Godavari, is the bone of contention between the villagers and the company. Oil India’s technical team zeroed in on the Thane Lanka site out of the eight oil and natural gas wells in the district for which it got a sanction from the Union Government.

With experts recommending that HPHT rigging is required to get a comparatively high natural gas yield from the site, the OIL acquired 10 acres of land in the village and completed civil works for the operation. But trouble began when villagers opposed the entry of heavy vehicles onto the bridge which connects their island village with the mainland.

In a bid to convince the villagers, the OIL officials commissioned a feasibility study by the IIT Madras and the Roads & Buildings Department of Andhra Pradesh. The IIT team came out with a report stating that the bridge was fit to carry 60 tonnes while the R&B stated that 30 tonnes of weight can be transported at one go.

However, the 4,000 plus villagers rejected both reports and made it clear that they won’t allow the rigging equipment onto the bridge. They still remember their plight before the construction of the bridge by the Ramakrishna Mission in 1999. In an official meeting held at Amalapuram last week, revenue officials asked the OIL to furnish a bank guarantee for Rs.15 crore before using the bridge.

The officials, however, are apprehensive that there will be further terms and conditions by the villagers.

“There can be a solution to the problem. In this case, the IOL officials are not making any attempt to resolve the issue in an amicable manner. None of them has approached us so far,” says P. Ravindra Babu, MP from Amalapuram.

“We have been trying our best to resolve the issue. We are still hopeful that the issue will be solved very soon,” said B.P. Sharma, group general manager of OIL’s Krishna-Godavari basin project.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 4:20:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/villagers-bar-oil-equipment-from-bridge/article7615832.ece

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