Row over compensation delays gas pipeline project

The 747-km pipeline from Dabhol in Maharasthra to the State Capital passes through nine districts and 265 villages. The Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) is implementing the project. Each kilometre of pipeline requires 7.5 acres of land. The company has entered into agreements with farmers to pay 65 per cent of the local market value of the land. Since it takes about four months to lay pipeline, the company had also promised to compensate for the loss of crop during the period. Accordingly, GAIL has been paying Rs 70,000 per acre of onion, Rs 1,000 per tree of a five-year-old arecanut, Rs 9,000 for a coconut tree  and Rs 13,000 for a mango tree.

It is said that some farmers have been planting coconut and mango saplings on the pipeline route overnight to demand compensation.

Farmers, however, have a different take. “The officials had promised to compensate the crops loss. Let it compensate farmers fairly,” said Basavaraj, a farmer in Jagalur.

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