Pipeline: Villagers flay HPCL move

Land owners from Mangalore and Belthangady taluks raised objection over a clause in the RTC that mentions land rights will be reserved with the oil company, in connection to the land where the HPCL’s proposed LPG pipeline from Mangalore to Bangalore will be laid.

In a review meeting chaired by the deputy commissioner to discuss the issue surrounding land acquisition for laying the pipeline, at the DC’s office on Saturday, the villagers demanded the district administration to remove the clause reserving land rights, and replace it with a statement that the pipeline was laid in the said land. K S Ballal from Parenki village in Belthangady taluk took exception to the clause on reserving land rights and said the HPCL has no right on the land in which pipeline was laid.

“When we are paid a meagre compensation of 10 per cent of the guidance value, the property right will remain in the hands of the land owner,” he said. Deputy Commissioner A B Ibrahim directed the officials to make an amendment in the RTC, according to the demand of the land owners.

Vasanthi from Dharmasthala expressed concern over the probability of gas leakage in the pipeline and the disaster it may lead to. Narrating an incident, she said the place near her house had caught fire few years ago.

The Petronet pipeline and its pumphouse which is located nearby fortunately did not catch fire due to the timely action by the local people who dowsed the fire. “There is no safety for the residents and we are forced to live a life of fear,” she complained.

HPCL Project Manager G K Yuvaraj said that the company has opened a helpline since last month and people can call the number for any clarifications of help. The helpline number is 08861986051.

A few villagers who refused to give away land, questioned as to why an additional six metres land was acquired for laying pipeline, when 18 metres was already acquired for laying Petronet pipeline in the past.

In response, Yuvaraj said according to the norms, a minimum distance of five metres has to be maintained between two parallel pipelines. Of the 18 metres land that was acquired in the past, six metres was used for laying the pipeline, and remaining 12 metres will be used for moving of vehicles. New pipeline will be laid in the newly acquired land.

Many boycott meet

Several land owners from Gurupur hobli in Mangalore taluk, boycotted the meeting due to  the delay in commencement of the meeting. Angered villagers said they would not give their land for laying pipeline at any cost. “We have not come here for negotiation, but only with respect to the DC. The district administration and the HPCL had to convene meetings of the land owners when the project was proposed years ago, and not in the last minute,” said Krishna Prasad from Gurupur.

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