Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated to the nation the 144-km-long Ramanathapuram-Thoothukudi natural gas pipeline, which will transport the fuel to a fertilizer manufacturing and petrochemical units near the coastal town from the gas fields in Ramanathapuram.
Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, who is in Thoothukudi for electioneering, participated in the event through video-conferencing. He said the project would spur industrial growth in the southern region in a big way.
The project has been executed at a cost of ₹700 crore to bring 8 million metric standard cubic meter per day to Thoothukudi with the compressor station at Valantharavai village in Ramanathapuram district.
The pipeline is part of a mega natural gas pipeline project being implemented in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and the Union Territory of Puducherry. A 1,445-km-long Ennore-Tiruvallur-Bengaluru-Puducherry-Nagapattinam-Madurai-Thoothukudi natural gas pipeline is being established for evacuation of gas from the liquified natural gas import terminal of 5 million metric tonnes per annum capacity at Kamarajar Port, near Chennai.
The Ramanathapuram-Thoothukudi pipeline will be connected to the Ennore LNG terminal to meet the increased demand and feed potential anchor customers to spur industrial growth. The pipeline will also supply environment-friendly fuel to households in the form of piped natural gas and to vehicles in the form of compressed natural gas (CNG).
Officials of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), the project proponent, insist that though the pipes have been laid on farmland, they won’t affect cultivation. “Natural gas is reliable and the pipeline system can’t be easily damaged by weather or affected by weather conditions,” an official claimed.
Farmers of Kulaiyankarisal and Pottalkaadu villages had opposed the laying of 18-inch- diameter pipes on their lands. Besides giving compensation to the farmers, the IOC desilted Pettaikulam, an irrigation tank with an extent of 250 acres at Kulaiyankarisal feeding 1,000 acres, on an outlay of ₹20 lakh under its Corporate Social Responsibility programme in August last.
However, a section of the farmers alleged that the IOC did not give them the compensation as agreed upon.