November05-GAIL-protest-Pinarayi

November05-GAIL-protest-Pinarayi

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, DHNS: A day ahead of an all-party meeting regarding ongoing protests against a GAIL pipeline project in Kozhikode and Malappuram, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the CPM-led state government would not buckle under pressure from "anti-development" groups.

Speaking at an event in Thrissur the Chief Minister, without naming the LNG pipeline project, said the government would not compromise on the state's development by giving in to pressure from such groups. "The government has decided that it will not halt or abandon projects that bring progress to the state, based on pressure or threats from anti-development groups," Vijayan said.

GAIL India Ltd. had started construction on the Kerala stretch of the Kochi Koottanad Bengaluru - Mangaluru pipeline about three months ago. Since construction commenced, parts of Kozhikode and Malappuram districts have witnessed a revival of public protests against the Rs-3,300 crore project seeking a realignment of the pipeline and a higher compensation for land. Last week, the protests turned violent with a series of clashes and arrests. With leaders of the Congress-led opposition United Democratic Front voicing support to the stir, the issue has taken a political turn.

GAIL has maintained that the project followed the best available safety standards and there was no scope for a realignment in the two districts.

The Chief Minister's statement is likely to set the tone for the scheduled talks on Monday, at the Kozhikode District Collectorate. Members of an action council locally constituted by the protesters are set to attend the meeting. Ministers and the ruling CPM have repeatedly countered the protest claiming that it was anchored on a misinformation campaign. The CPM leadership also claimed that extremist organisations have infiltrated the protesting groups and are trying to turn the stir into an anti-government movement. Work on the pipeline is continuing under police protection.

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry