Angry farmers delay Dahej to Uran-Dabhol pipeline

Vol 10, PW 20 (08 Feb 07) Midstream & Downstream

Angry protests by farmers in Maharashtra and Gujarat will most certainly delay completion of the Dahej to Uran and Dabhol pipeline by the oil ministry deadline of 31st March – seven weeks from now.

“This deadline looks impossible but we are trying our best,â€‌ says a GAIL source. “Completion will be delayed by 40 or 50 days at the present rate of progress.

â€‌ Once laid the pipelines will connect the Dahej and Hazira LNG terminals in Gujarat with potential R-LNG customers in Maharashtra, and crucially, with the idle Dabhol power station, which the oil ministry wants to fuel with R-LNG from Dahej until its own LNG import terminal is ready in June 2009. PETROWATCH learns that by the end of last month (January) GAIL had completed only half the 574-km total length of both pipelines.

Significant progress is reported in Gujarat but work is held up at several sections along the route in Maharashtra. Worst hit is the Thane region, where mobs of farmers have physically obstructed pipeline work and beaten up site workers at several locations compelling police to ban the assembly of more than four persons in affected areas.

Farmers in the Ratnagiri and Raigad regions as well as at Valsad, Navsari and Surat in Gujarat are also resisting GAIL. Protesting farmers want more compensation.

“We are paying compensation as decided by the local â€کcompetent authority’,â€‌ says GAIL. But farmers want GAIL to match the rates paid by GSPC and Reliance.

Each have separate gas pipeline RoUs in Maharashtra and Gujarat and are believed to have paid compensation 20 or 30 times more than that paid by GAIL. “GSPC and Reliance know we cannot pay more than the government rates,â€‌ says GAIL.

“They want to create hurdles in our path by getting the farmers angry. They do not want our pipeline to come up.

If we pay that kind of money our pipeline will become unviable.â€‌