Rescind land use notification for GAIL pipeline: Jayalalithaa

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Chennai, Feb 8: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to rescind the central government's notification relating to right of use of land issued enabling GAIL (India) to lay its gas pipeline through farmlands in seven districts of the state.

In a letter to Modi, text of which was released to the media, Jayalalithaa also urged him to direct GAIL India not to act upon the notifications pending a final view in the matter.

Jaya writes to Modi on GAIL pipeline

Jayalalithaa wrote to Modi in the wake of the Supreme Court's recent order holding that once the right of use of land is notified the state government does not have the power to direct as to how the pipeline is to be aligned.

She also told Modi that the state government will be filing a review petition in the apex court in this matter.

As a part of its around Rs.5,000 crore gas pipeline project, between Kochi-Koottanad-Bengaluru-Mangaluru, GAIL planned to lay the pipes in the agricultural fields in Coimbatore, Tiruppur, Erode, Namakkal, Salem, Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri much against the wishes of the farmers.

Heeding to the high court's orders, the state government held public hearings in March this year to ascertain the views of the people.

Jayalalithaa had also announced in the assembly that projects are for the people and not people for the projects.

The state government also ordered GAIL to stop the pipeline work and lay its along the national highways.

In her letter Jayalalithaa also urged Modi to amend the relevant provisions of the Petroleum and Minerals Pipeline (Acquisition of Right of Use in Land) Act, 1962 and the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.

She said the amendment should provide for the conduct of a social impact assessment under the Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines (Acquisition of Right of User in Land) Act, 1962.

She also said GAIL may be directed to be part of the expert committee constituted by the state government, for the purpose of exploring the possibility of laying the pipelines alongside the national highways.

According to Jayalalithaa, the pipeline would cover 310 km with an affected area of 20 metres width.

"The project would very adversely affect lakhs of mango, jackfruit and coconut trees which are extensively grown in the project affected areas. "It is estimated that more than 120,000 such fruit bearing trees would have to be uprooted for laying the pipes," the letter notes.

"Further, the restrictions on excavating any tank, well, etc in the area, would adversely affect agriculture and horticulture," Jayalalithaa added.

IANS

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