GAIL pipeline to be completed next year
The project to lay a natural gas pipeline from Kochi to Mangaluru, which faced numerous delays in the past, has picked up momentum and work is apace at various stretches along the route.
“The project is going in the right direction,” a top official of GAIL (India) Ltd, which is entrusted with the work, told The Hindu. “With the support of the government, the project to extend the pipeline to Mangaluru could be completed by December 2018,” he said.
The government has set up special teams and a monitoring mechanism under the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation following opposition to acquisition of land for the project.
“Welding work is in progress at four places, within a span of 90 km, on the Ernakulam-Thrissur stretch. Work on about 300 metres is being completed daily in each place. The work will be taken up at five more places along the route. Efforts are on to complete the work well before the onset of the rain,” he said.
The acquisition of land had faced problems in certain places such as Kodungalloor and Kozhikode, but the issues had been settled with the intervention of the authorities concerned, the official said.
Land acquisition is done under the Petroleum and Mineral Pipelines (Acquisition of Rights of User in Land) Act, 1962. Under the Act, the owner will retain the ownership of land and cultivation other than planting of trees is permitted. GAIL has reportedly incurred a loss of over ₹.200 crore due to delay in executing the pipeline work. Contracts had to be abandoned earlier owing to stiff opposition from landowners, supported by political lobbies.
The completion of the pipeline will open up new possibilities for piped natural gas (PNG) distribution along the Kochi-Mangaluru stretch. Thrissur and other places can hope to get domestic piped gas supply under the City Gas project, according to the official. The City Gas scheme is being implemented in Ernakulam.
The pipe-laying work in the Kanjirkkode-Bangaluru stretch will be taken up in consultation with the Tamil Nadu government. Talks are under way with the new government in Tamil Nadu, the official said.