Mangaluru to join league of green cities in a year

The 438 km Kochi-Koottanad-Mangaluru natural gas pipeline enters construction phase

Mangaluru, which is slated to become a Smart City, will soon join the league of green cities in the country by gradually switching to natural gas for industrial, automobile and domestic purpose.

GAIL (India) Ltd., which is executing the 438-km Kochi-Koottanad-Mangaluru natural gas pipeline, is confident of commissioning it by September next even as it has got assured demand for over 4 million cubic metres (MCM) per day from industries. The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board has to take a call on domestic and automobile supply of LNG.

After overcoming stiff resistance from landowners in Kerala, GAIL has awarded contract for laying pipeline for 111 km stretch at a cost of about ₹160 crore in north Kerala and Dakshina Kannada in Karnataka last week. About 41 km of the line between Kochi LNG terminal and Kochi city is already operational.

Of the 91 km line between Kochi and Koottanad, from where the line branches out to Bengaluru, 72 km of the 69.5 km welded line has already been lowered in the ground, said Tony Mathew, general manager, GAIL, Kochi. The entire stretch is in the construction phase and will be part of the National Gas Grid.

The pipeline has the capacity to transport 16 MCM of LNG per day with the projected demand for Kochi city at around 5 MCM per day. Towns and cities enroute the pipeline will also get the clean fuel, Mr. Mathew said. The Regional Gas Management Centre at Kochi will monitor the network round the clock, he added.

The pipeline will pass through Mudipu, Konaje, Arkula, and Malavoor after entering Karnataka at Kairangala village to reach Mangalore Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd. (MCF) initially. MCF would use LNG as the feed to produce urea.

Another major industry, Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals (MRPL) too will get LNG for feed to produce several products and also for fuel. MRPL is ready with the design to receive LNG, said Director (Refinery) M. Venkatesh.

Besides MCF and MRPL, other major and medium industries in the region too will use LNG either as feed or fuel, said Mr. Mathew.

Opposition from landowners

Like in Kerala, landowners in Karnataka too have opposed land acquisition fearing losing dwellings, agricultural lands and plantations. Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner K.G. Jagadeesha has convened a meeting of affected landowners and GAIL officials on August 31 to resolve the issue.

Mr. Mathew said the company would need 20 m wide land along the 35 km stretch during the project execution stage for movement of equipment; however, it would require only 10 m wide right of way (RoW) after the pipeline is buried in the ground.

The company will compensate for loss of crop during the execution stage as per the Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines (Acquisition of Right of User Inland Act), 1962. The market value of lands has to be determined by the Deputy Commissioner and GAIL will go by it, he said.

In Kerala, GAIL is paying 75% of the fair (guidance) value for permanent RoW and ₹12,000 per coconut tree. Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner has proposed to pay 10% of the market value, which is calculated at six times the guidance value. However, landowners are claiming payment of 100% of guidance value, Mr. Mathew said.

Cheap and safe option

Besides being a green fuel, natural gas is cheaper than conventional fuel and safe too, says GAIL.

If used as auto fuel, compressed natural gas (CNG) is sold at around ₹40 a kg and provides at least 20% more mileage. As domestic fuel, LNG is cheaper than Liquefied Petroleum Gas, said Mr. Mathew. Bi-monthly bills of households using LNG in Kochi comes to around ₹600, he said.

For industries, LNG is straightaway cheaper by 25% to conventional fuel. Since LNG is lighter than air, it gets dispersed in the air easily unlike LPG. No cloud zone is formed by LNG, and it is completely safe, Mr. Mathew claimed.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 5:54:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/mangaluru-to-join-league-of-green-cities-in-a-year/article19526318.ece

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