Mangaluru, Sep 1,2017: Speaking to media after a meeting of land owners from 16 villages in Dakshina Kannada district whose lands have been identified for laying 438 km of the pipeline between Mangaluru (Karnataka) and Kochi (Kerala) by the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL), the DK DC said, “First preference is the right of aggrieved parties to decide on the agency to be in place within one week.
The agency will be handed the job only if it is found competent. If it fails to proves to be so, the district administration will entrust the task to the National Institute of Technology-Karnataka (NITK), Surathkal. In the case of any inconclusive situation even after another round of survey, the matter will be placed before the government.”
Following the growing opposition from people in Dakshina Kannada district whose land has been marked to lay a gas pipeline, DK DC Dr K G Jagadeesha on August 31, Thursday announced to appoint a neutral agency to survey the route.
The DK DC also clarified that he was doing so only in the interest of the people, beyond the Petroleum and Mineral Pipelines (PMP) Act 1962, as the deputy commissioner is vested with powers only to decide the maximum compensation amount.
To a query on the Right of Use Act raised by some of the villagers during the meeting, DC Dr Jagadeesha, who initially refused to comment on the same, said, “I will go through the process and if any previous notification will apply it must get consideration as there is no provision to acquire the land.”
The officer earlier addressed a gathering of landholders in a continued meeting at Town Hall, as they had raised several concerns during the previous meeting on August 3. The DK DC in his attempt to convince the villagers, said, “One has to compromise, in view of any development work, as the people in Kerala have already showed the way (by consenting to the project).”
The DK DC also offered to send a team of experts to Kerala to study the route, as there are contrasting opinions over the land identified. The team will study the classification of private and government land in use for the project.
Gilbert Lobo, a 75-year-old person from Meramajal, pleaded with the deputy commissioner to refuse permission for the work. He said, “We will ony have one option that is to think on the line of farmers who have been committing suicide.”
Advocate Madhusudhan Bhat, appearing for his client Supreeth Shetty, questioned the rationale behind organising the meeting when many of the land holders are yet to receive notice. “My client who owns land at Maravur village, has already parted with a portion of the land for two pipelines and is still waiting for compensation in one case,” Bhat complained.
Another person from Adyapady claimed to have been severely affected by repeated projects, with a vast tract of 34 acres of land belonging to his family under threat. Three pipelines have been already laid, with the fourth one in the making.
Infosys given unfair advantage, ZP ex-member : Santosh Kumar Shetty Boliyar, a former Zilla Panchayat member accused the authorities concerned of favouring Infosys Technologies Limited against farmers’ interest. The alignment was changed to avoid laying the line through the land allotted for Infosys at Kairangal near Mudipu, he pointed out.
Kannada please: People refuse to hear officer : Tony Matthew, general manager for the implementation of pipeline project, was forced to return to his seat, due to the instant objection raised by the gathering against the officer for speaking in English.
As soon as Matthew started to speak, the gathering asked him to switch over to Kannada. The DC, who intervened, tried to pacify the people, saying that the officer was ready to clarify technical queries raised during the meeting. However, the people who appeared unwilling, eventually forced the DC to take over the mike.