SC for status quo on Gail's pipeline project in TN

SC for status quo on Gail's pipeline project in TN

The Supreme Court on Friday directed Gail India to maintain status quo for the Tamil Nadu portion of its Rs 3,400 crore Kochi-Kuttanad-Bangalore-Mangalore gas pipeline project, while pitching for the protection of farmers’ interests.

The apex court asked project executors to explore the possibility of carrying out the scheme by using land along the national highway and questioned them for acquiring land that belonged to farmers.

“Why do you want to go into farmers house. It is very improper. You are only asking for farmers land,” a bench comprising Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justices Ranjan Gogoi and M Y Eqbal observed.

While issuing notices to Gail India and other stakeholders, asking them to respond within four weeks to the objections raised by the Tamil Nadu government and farmers from the state, the bench said: “In the meantime it is directed that status quo be maintained as of today.”

The bench, which posted the matter for further hearing on February 17, asked Gail India about the land it required. “You have to tell how much land will be required on both sides of the national highway,” the bench said.

The Tamil Nadu government’s plea, filed by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi and Additional Solicitor General L Nageshwar Rao, tried to impress the bench about the national importance of the project.

The Tamil Nadu government and farmers association had moved the apex court challenging the Madras High Court order that quashed the a notification prohibiting Gail India from implementing its gas pipeline project passing through agricultural lands in seven districts of the state.

Gail India had challenged the state government notification in the high court, asking it to stop placing pipelines in agricultural lands and implement the project by laying them along national highways.

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