Angry farmers take aim at proposed IOC pipeline

Vol 20, PW 3 (20 Oct 16) People & Policy

Angry Gujarat farmers are accusing IndianOil of beginning pipeline laying work through their land without proper RoU permission.

This is likely to seriously delay work on IOC's 798-km crude oil pipeline which it is laying parallel to the 1870-km Salaya to Mathura pipeline. Farmers approached the Ahmedabad district collector (a local government official) Avantika Singh Aulakh on October 12 to file a detailed complaint against IOC.

They are demanding that companies like IOC must inform them at least three months in advance before carrying out pipeline repairs and should also carry out proper surveys through professional agencies to assess the impact on crops. They want adequate compensation at market rates on a monthly basis for the use of their land and damage to crops.

Farmers allege IOC did not give them notice under section 135-D of the Bombay Land Revenue Code, and also depended on RoU permission which was either invalid or had run out. "You cannot cultivate your land with a pipeline passing below," says a Sanand farmer.

"We suffer when pipeline repair works happen." Farmers also fear that the value of agricultural land substantially reduces if a gas or crude pipeline passes through. When contacted an IOC source refused to comment saying it is studying the situation.

"Unlike farmers in Kerala and Tamil Nadu who fight for their rights, farmers in Gujarat are docile," we hear. "But they are waking up."

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