• Will not allow GAIL’s pipeline project in Tamil Nadu, says Jayalalithaa

    Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today said that she will not allow GAIL’s pipeline project to come in the state and will keep putting pressure on the Centre not to implement in the project in Tamil Nadu. During her campaign, for the upcoming Assembly Elections, at Dharmapuri today, Jayalalithaa said around 120,000 trees will be lost because of the project. Around 1.2 million trees need to be planted, which is not possible. “I will not allow the GAIL pipeline project and will keep putting pressure the Centre not to implement the project in the state,” said Jayalalithaa.

    Thousands of farmers in these seven districts are opposing the project stating that it will impact their livelihood, as it will be difficult to do agriculture in the land once the pipeline is laid. GAIL (India) Limited was instructed by the Government of Tamil Nadu in 2013, for laying pipeline alongside the National Highways without affecting the agricultural lands of the farmers of Tamil Nadu.

    GAIL had challenged the above order of Government of Tamil Nadu in the Madras High Court which quashed the state government’s order in November 2013. Government of Tamil Nadu challenged the Order in the Supreme Court and the same was dismissed two months back. The Supreme Court ordered the State Government of Tamil Nadu to fix market value of land as on January 1, 2016 for the Right of Use (RoU) compensation purpose.

    The ownership of the land remains with the land owner and RoU of land is acquired for laying of gas pipeline and after laying the pipeline, the land is restored back in original condition to the land owner. Compensation is paid to the land owner as per Petroleum & Minerals Pipelines Act and the Supreme Court have ordered that the RoU compensation against land will be 10 per cent of market value as on January 2016 plus 30 per cent Solatium.

    Farmers can continue agricultural activities after the restoration of land and only construction of permanent structure, plantation of deep rooted trees are not allowed in the acquired RoU and as such there will be no adverse effect to the interest of the farmers, said the Minister. However, farmers fear that any kind of digging of land above the pipeline could be considered by the company as an offense and even if the pipeline is damaged due to some other reason, the land owners has to face serious legal action. They are also alleging that if the pipeline cuts across a farmland splitting the land into two parts, the farmer cannot take water from one side to the other side by establishing a pipeline, as any possible damage to the gas pipeline would result in serious legal action.

    The 925 kms Kochi-Kottanad-Bangalore-Mangalore pipeline passes through Kerala (505 kms), Tamil Nadu (310 kms) and Karnataka (60 kms). The pipeline has already been laid for 200 kms at a cost of Rs 6.85 billion. The project was originally started in 2012, of the total project only 50 kms has been completed in Ernakulam (Kerala). Not only in Tamil Nadu, farmers have been protesting in Kerala fearing that they will loose their livelihood. They also want the Government to withdraw the Petroleum & Mineral Pipelines Act, 1962 (PMP Act). State Government also supports the farmers in this mater.

    Gail India Gets Two Bids to Ship U.S. Shale Gas; Shares Gain

    Gail India Ltd., the South Asian country’s biggest gas transporter, said it got bids from two groups to transport shale gas from the U.S. Shares jumped the most in more than a month. The state-run company’s spokeswoman Vandana Chanana declined to name the bidders, saying Gail India won’t elaborate on commercial matters that aren’t public yet. Gail had originally floated a tender two years ago, calling for nine LNG vessels to help ship the gas starting 2017-18.

    Gail shares advanced 4.1 percent to 366.35 rupees on Tuesday in Mumbai, the biggest gain since March 3. The shipping tender, which closed on March 31 after several extensions since last year, seeks tankers that can carry 150,000-180,000 cubic meters of LNG, three of which must be built locally to help advance Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship ‘Make in India’ initiative aimed at creating jobs.

    The New Delhi-based firm bought one of the first shipments of LNG from Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Sabine Pass project in Louisiana on spot basis, making it the first Asian importer of U.S. shale gas. Gail will import about 6 million metric tons of gas from the U.S. beginning 2018, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said in an interview in New Delhi on March 28. It has agreed to buy 3.5 million metric tons of LNG a year for two decades from Sabine Pass, which is expected to start supplies in March 2018. It has also booked 2.3 million tons a year capacity at the Cove Point LNG liquefaction terminal in Maryland, which is set to commence deliveries in December 2017. 

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