Jaya urges Gail to stop Kochi-B'lore gas pipeline work

Project affects farmers: TN chief minister

Jaya urges Gail to stop Kochi-B'lore gas pipeline work

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha on Monday urged Gas Authority of India Limited (Gail) to “immediately stop” all work related to laying of 310-km Kochi-Bangalore natural gas pipeline arguing that it will seriously hit the livelihood of farmers of seven districts of her state through which it passes.

Responding to a special call-attention motion on this issue in the Assembly on Monday, she said Gail was fixing the 20-metre diameter pipes after digging through agricultural fields under the Petroleum and Minerals Pipeline Act, 1962. She said the company is proceeding on the basis of “acquiring rights of use” and has till now acquired about 1,491 acres owned by 5,842 farmers in seven districts.

Informing the House about the angst expressed by farmers from those districts at a public hearing organised by the State government in Chennai recently, Jayalalitha stressed that considering the interests of the affected farmers, Gail should take steps to change the route of the pipeline and lay it along the national highway without disturbing agricultural land.

She said Gail should level the trenches already dug for laying pipelines and restore the land back to the affected farmers. The pipes that have already been laid “should be immediately removed,” she said.

Jayalalitha urged Gail to pay compensation to the farmers whose lands have been affected by its operation. She said the government has chalked out a five-point plan to protect the interests of farmers in the seven districts.

Jayalalitha went a step ahead and announced that the decisions of the state government will be conveyed to the Madras High Court, where a PIL is pending. Gail should take steps to supply some quantity of natural gas to Tamil Nadu.

All the cases filed by the police against farmers protesting the Gail project will be withdrawn by the state, she added.

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