Kochi: Prime minister Narendra Modi’s directive to finish the natural gas pipeline between Kochi and Mangaluru six months ahead of schedule cold not have come at a worse time for the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL).
The constant rains and waterlogging coupled with local resistance threaten the timely completion of the project.
Modi has asked the GAIL chairman to finish the project by June 2018, six months earlier than originally planned.
The GAIL has started works on a war footing but it has challenges galore.
The contractors have been asked to hire more laborers to get the job done faster.
The north Kerala district administrations have been requested to deploy more revenue officers to vet the land records in places where the GAIL has secured the “right to use” to lay the underground pipe.
They are also supposed to clear the doubts of the landowners regarding the project.
The project has run into stiff resistance in the Malappuram district, where the youth wing of the Muslim League has declared its opposition to the land acquisition.
The government may have to step in to talk out the differences.
The Youth League state committee has decided to offer the outfit’s full support to the “victims” of the project.
State general secretary P K Firoz asked the governments and the GAIL to stop the “illegal” construction activities until the people’s grievances were addressed.
He said the protests against the project could not be suppressed by the police and goons.
The work is also affected by rain and waterlogging.
The pipe is proposed to run 403 kilometers in Kerala and 365 kilometers of the stretch is through paddy fields and wetlands.
The GAIL has signed job contracts for the entire stretch of the proposed pipeline.
A contract of Rs 160 crore was awarded in August to lay the pipes on 111 kilometers in Kannur and Malappuram districts.
Earlier contracts are at various stage of progress.
The 72 kilometer stretch passing through Ernakulam and Thrissur districts has been completed.
The work is progressing in Kasaragod, Kannur and Kozhikode districts as well.