GAIL gas pipeline awaits Tamil Nadu decision in 10 days

New Delhi, March 24 (IANS) The public sector gas transmission and marketing company GAIL (India) Sunday expressed the hope that issues stalling its Kochi-Kottanad-Mangalore-Bangalore gas pipeline project would be speedily resolved.

“The matter is under consideration of the state government. We hope that in a week or ten days time we’ll get the decision of the state government,” B.C. Tripathi, GAIL chairman and managing director, said at the National Editors’ Conference here.
The GAIL pipeline project is facing opposition from farmers in Tamil Nadu.
“The matter went to the High Court, which asked the state government to intervene and do public hearings. The public hearings have been concluded. The chief secretary of Tamil Nadu has heard both the farmers and GAIL,” Tripathi said.
“We will agree to whatever compensation the state decides,” he added.
“There is a second issue related to the width of the pipeline. We have decided to reduce the width to 20 metre from 30 metre,” the GAIL chairman said.
Stressing the vital importance of natural gas infrastructure, Petroleum Minister M. Veerappa Moily said: “We want to have a national gas grid. We should have a national movement for this.”
Saying that farmland is not affected by laying gas pipelines since these pass underground, Moily said: “Any crop can grow on the land (over the pipelines). People crying that land will go waste is the result of a mistaken notion.”
Regarding the farmers’ demand to shift the pipeline network along the National Highway, the GAIL chairman said pipelines follow the shortest distance across the country.
“Laying the pipeline along the highways is expensive,” said Tripathi.
The Kochi-Kottanad-Mangalore-Bangalore gas pipeline project will pass through seven districts of Tamil Nadu traversing over 300 km through the state.