IOC gas pipeline project hits sticky patch

The Indian Oil Corporation?s R910-crore LPG pipeline project has hit a 20-acre sticky patch in Haldia.

The Indian Oil Corporation?s R910-crore LPG pipeline project has hit a 20-acre sticky patch in Haldia. The land is crucial since the oil major has planned a pumping station on it which would enable gas flow through a 300-km-long pipeline from Haldia to Durgapur and right up to Kalyani.

An IOC official said the entire length of the pipeline from Paradip in Orissa to Haldia and then to Kalyani in West Bengal is 710 km. There is no problem of land for the entire stretch but only 20 acres has become detrimental to the project.

?There is no other risk-free location suitable for setting up a pumping station, which will push LPG through the pipeline,? the official said. With the government now limiting supply of subsidized cylinders to only three a year, oil companies are required to ensure ready availability of cylinders at unsubsidized rates. IOC took the initiative two years back to remove logistical bottlenecks, which were delaying supplies both to the bottling plants and end consumers.

The pipeline will replace capsule-fitted trucks for carrying LPG and ensure more safety in transportation. But 20 acres is coming in the way.

IOC took the land from the West Bengal government, paying it R5.2 crore in 2010. The company got the legal possession of the land but could not get the physical possession for obstruction of land owners. An IOC official involved in the project said the land-owners were now claiming compensation but the company has paid all that it was supposed to the government.

The land was transferred to IOC from the Haldia Development Authority (HDA) and it was not a direct purchase. So there was no question of the company paying any compensation to the land-owners, the official said. HDA chairman and MP Subhedhu Adhikary said it was not the policy of the new government to transfer land to any industry. ?Our government has made clear that any land required by the industry has to be directly purchased and the government will not interfere in any land acquisition,? Adhikary said.

The IOC official said the company has already asked the government to refund the paid amount with interest. But there has been no response from the government so far. ?We will start negotiating with the land-owners once the government refunds us.?

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First published on: 09-01-2013 at 01:17 IST