Supreme Court paves way for GAIL’S Rs 3,400-crore Tamil Nadu gas pipeline project
The Supreme Court has paved the way for GAIL India’s controversial Kochi-mangalore natural gas pipeline project in Tamil Nadu (TN).
Land acquisition issues and stiff opposition by farmers and the TN government had disrupted a key section of GAIL’S ambitious R3,400-crore KochiKuttanad-bengaluru-mangalore gas pipeline project, which is passing through farmland in seven districts of the state, covering a distance of 310 km there, 505 km in Kerala and 85 km in Karnataka. A bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur, while quashing the state government’s notification that had sought re-alignment of the pipeline, said that the Tamil Nadu government — which has rallied behind the state’s farmers — had no jurisdiction to direct such realignment.
The apex court, however, directed GAIL to pay enhanced compensation to farmers, and asked the state government to revise its computation of the market value of lands affected by the pipeline. It also asked the state government to determine modalities of the compensation to be given to the farmers and allowed enhanced compensation by 30% over and above the statutory compensation of 10% of the market value of the project.
The court had in January 2014 asked the Tamil Nadu government and GAIL to maintain status quo on the implementation of the ambitious pipeline project.
GAIL argued that it had already invested Rs 600 crore in the project and had all necessary clearances and just a handful of farmers were objecting to the pipeline.
Both the farmers and the TN government had challenged the Madras High Court’s order that quashed its directive putting curbs on GAIL from implementing its project.