Wildlife clearance for 1903-km GSPL pipeline soon

Vol 18, PW 9 (18 Dec 14) Midstream & Downstream

Much delayed clearance from the National Board for Wildlife is expected for Gujarat State Petronet’s (GSPL’s) 1903-km cross country gas pipeline from Mallavaram on the Andhra Pradesh coast to Vijaipur in Madhya Pradesh.

This will come as huge relief for pipeline contractors who in July were qualified by GSPL to lay the pipeline but have heard nothing since. PETROWATCH learns the Standing Committee of the 47-member Wildlife Board headed by Narendra Modi meets in January to approve pending projects, among them this one.

Wildlife Board approval is mandatory if a pipeline passes within 10-km of a sanctuary and this one passes through six: Coringa, Pakhal, and Shivaram in Andhra Pradesh, Bor in Maharashtra and Bori and Narsinghgarh in Madhya Pradesh. Coringa is the second largest stretch of mangrove in India with 24 different species and home to 120 bird varieties, including the critically endangered white-backed and long-billed vultures.

Pakhal and Narsinghgarh sanctuaries are known for their leopards, wild boars and blue bulls. Bor and Bori sanctuaries are famous for tigers and Shivaram is home to marsh crocodiles.

GSPL won environmental clearance for the 76.25m cm/d capacity pipeline in April 2013 but has yet to receive a NoC. Much hope rests with the newly constituted Wildlife Board set up in September after a stinging indictment from the Supreme Court over how new Board members were appointed in July by the Modi government.