GAIL pipeline project in Goa faces obstacle

Panaji: The Goa Government`s ambitious plan to generate electricity using gas from Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) has hit a roadblock.

The gas pipeline project has been facing hurdles in Bicholim, Ponda and Marmugao talukas from the locals, who are opposed to the plan, according to a presentation made by Goa`s Directorate of Industries, Trade and Commerce (DITC).

The GAIL pipeline, which connects Dabhol (Maharashtra) to Bidadi (Karnataka), was to be tapped at Gokak (Karnataka) and diverted to Goa, where the gas was to be used as a fuel by industries.

The State Government also intends to use the gas for generating power once the connectivity is completed besides as domestic fuel and for vehicles. The project had received approval from the GAIL board in 2009. Goa was expecting to get the pipeline laid by December 2012.

But contractors are facing hurdles in the three talukas, where work has been halted in five villages. The locals are opposed to the pipeline passing through their paddy fields and have demanded change in its route.

The project`s promoters have said no acquisition of land is required to lay the pipeline but compensation would be provided to the land holder. "Ownership of the land remains with the landowner. After laying the pipeline, the land will be handed back to the landowner for agriculture purpose," according to the DITC document.