• Kerala: District admin cracks whips on IOAGPL to expedite works

    With the Indian Oil Adani Gas Private Limited’s (IOAGPL) works in Thrikkakara municipality running behind schedule, the district administration has given the agency implementing the city gas project four more days to complete the works in the municipality. The IOAGPL was supposed to restore the dug-up roads by January 20.

    The slow pace of IOAGPL’s road restoration works after digging them up for laying pipelines for piped natural gas (PNG) supply had come under fire from people’s representatives in the municipality.

    At a meeting held on January 22, the collector informed IOAGPL officials that as the agency has failed to stay on schedule and restore the roads completely, the permission for digging up roads in the next six wards of Thrikkakara municipality, which was to be carried out in the next days, wouldn’t be granted.

    It was after the intervention by the district administration that the city gas project, which had been progressing at a snail pace ever since it was launched in February 2016, gained momentum. Still, the speed and quality of the road restoration works drew criticism from the people’s representatives in Thrikkakara municipality.

    The IOAGPL officials had cited difficulties in getting permission from local bodies to dig up roads for laying pipelines for PNG supply as the major reason for the inordinate delay in completing the project.

    In around four years since February 2016, the OIAGPL has been able to provide connections only to roughly 1,500 families, whereas the target was 50,000 households. The collector had convened a meeting in January first week and decided to expedite the project and complete distribution PNG connections to 40,000 households in Thrikkakara municipality by March 31.

    But yet another round of dispute erupted and the people’s representatives of Thrikkakara municipality and the district collector again convened a meeting again on January 9 to sort out the issues. At the meeting, it was decided to complete the restoration of roads by January 20.

    The collector had also given instructions to the IOAGPL to complete the remaining work within 15 days of starting it. A schedule for completing the works in Thrikkakara was prepared and it was decided that the works will be completed in a phased manner.

    In the first phase, pipelaying, distribution and plumping works to provide connections to the households are to be completed in six wards. In the next phase, works in the six more wards are to be carried out. The entire work in all the 43 wards in Thrikkakara municipality is to be completed by April 30.

    When the collector convened a meeting to review the progress of the work on January 22, it was found that IOAGPL hasn’t completed relaying roads. “They haven’t completed relaying of around 700 metres of road dug up for laying the pipes. So, the people are agitated. If the work is progressing in such a manner, we will have to raise objections against digging up the roads for the project,” one of the ward members of Thrikkakara municipality said.

    But IOAGPL representatives said they had laid pipes along 30km in the six wards of the municipality and that only a stretch of 700 metres need to be restored.

    “Most of the road-digging works are being carried out as per horizontal dimensional drilling (HDD). We don’t have to dig up the road. We just have to dig up pits at certain points. So, we will be able to complete the repair works fast,” said Ajay Pillai, head of city gas project in Kochi.

    As of now, they have given PNG connections to 152 houses in Thrikkakara municipality. Once the work in Thrikkakara is over, IOAGPL will start the works in Eloor municipality.

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