SC dismisses TN plea against Kochi-M'luru gas pipeline

SC dismisses TN plea against Kochi-M'luru gas pipeline

 The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea by the Tamil Nadu government for the realignment of the Kochi-Mangaluru natural gas pipeline, saying an agreement reached between the Gas Authority of India Ltd (Gail) and the Union government cannot be questioned by a state government.

A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice T S Thakur rejected the contention of senior advocate Subramaniam Prasad, appearing for Tamil Nadu, that the fertile farm of seven districts would be affected if the pipeline was not realigned along the national highways.

“How can you insist on shifting the pipeline? How do you direct for shifting? Do you have the statutory authority to issue any such direction,” the bench asked the counsel.

The state government had on October 4, 2013, issued directions to Gail to take several steps, including shifting of the gas pipeline. The Madras High Court, however, quashed the government order, saying the project was of national importance and would benefit the states of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

A counsel, appearing for Gail, submitted that the public sector company was willing to sit down with state government to work out a formula for raising the compensation to farmers as out of Rs 3,000 crore, Rs 685 crore had already been spent on the project.

After hearing the counsel, the bench, also comprising Justices A K Sikri and R Banumathi, said, “The state has no jurisdiction to issue directions to the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board to alter the alignment of the pipeline.”

The court, however, directed the authorities to consider paying higher compensation to farmers in accordance with the circle rate determined as on January 1, 2016.

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