AIADMK wants GAIL KKMBP pipeline project in Tamil Nadu to be halted. Read why

Chennai: The opposition AIADMK on Saturday demanded that the Tamil Nadu state government immediately halt the installation of the inter-state KKMBP gas pipeline project by GAIL India in the state's arable lands in the interest of farmers and instead, implement it along the highways. Insisting that projects are meant for people and not otherwise, former Chief Minister and AIADMKs coordinator O Panneerselvam said the present project was being implemented much against the wishes of the farmers in the state.

The GAIL KKMBP (Kochi-Kuttanadu-Mangaluru-Bengaluru) pipeline project is being laid from Kochi through Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode, Namakkal, Salem, Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts, connecting with Bengaluru, to carry natural gas. The project that was conceived a decade ago has faced stiff opposition from the ryots in the western region in the state. "A project is (meant) for the people, but not people for the project. Hence, the state government should take immediate action to stop this project and ensure its implementation along the highway without affecting farmers'' cultivable lands in Tamil Nadu," Panneerselvam said in a statement here. Urging Chief Minister MK Stalin to take into consideration the concerns of the ryots, he said Kerala will undertake laying of the pipeline for 310 km from the terminal in Kochi to Bengaluru, covering seven districts in Tamil Nadu.

During a consultative meeting convened by late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in 2013, about 2,428 farmers and landowners from 134 villages in seven districts said their livelihoods would be adversely affected if GAIL installed gas pipelines. The value of the lands will sharply decline and there could be a possible gas leak, they had said. Panneerselvam recalled them as having said that the project would not augur well for farming activities.

GAIL had then contended that diverting the project to the national highways would cause traffic congestion until the completion of the work. Generally, this approach would require the setting up of an additional station every eight kms. It had also said that there would be safety and maintenance issues and that the materials already purchased would have to be changed in tune with the design of the pipes for the project.

"Against this background, it has been reported that the company has recently resumed the project of laying gas pipelines on agricultural lands via Hosur and that pits are being dug in agricultural lands and the work is progressing in full swing," the former chief minister said. "I urge the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu to immediately stop the installation of gas pipelines in the arable lands as projects are meant for the people, but not otherwise, he said. He said late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was of the view that the livelihood of the people should not be affected by the laws and schemes meant for the people. Meanwhile, the farmers'' collective which is opposed to the project maintained that it violated the resolution passed by the then Jayalalithaa government that no pipeline should be allowed through the farmlands.

It alleged that while the project was being executed without affecting the agricultural lands in Kerala and Bengaluru, it cut through the farmlands in Tamil Nadu.

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