After violent protests erupted over the laying of GAIL pipelines through thickly- populated areas in Malappuram and Kozhikode districts, the Kerala government has decided to double the compensation for land owners. The decision to increase compensation was taken in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan here last evening. According to the chief minister, the new compensation amount would be decided after fixing the market price of land at 10 times the revised fair value, decided by the authorities. “At present, the market price is five times the revised fair value…This has been increased to 10 times now… With this, there has been an additional increase of Rs 116 crore in the compensation package,” Vijayan said in a Facebook post. The meeting also decided to make the revision with effect from 2012, when the project was launched, he said. In a relief for those who own land 10 cents or below, it was decided to reduce the extent of land to be used for laying pipeline to two metres in such areas.
Existing houses would be protected in such places, the chief minister said. Where there are no houses, the alignment of the pipeline would be to one side of a plot, permitting future construction in such places. “The meeting also decided to provide an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the landowners having land 10 cents or less to lay the pipeline,” he said. As per the present rules, pipeline cannot be laid beneath houses. The alignment of the pipeline is being designed in such a manner to ensure that houses will not be affected.
Besides the compensation for land, owners of paddy fields would get Rs 3,761 per cent as special compensation, Vijayan added. The GAIL’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline project has been facing stiff opposition from locals at Mukkam in Kozhikode district and in some places in Malappuram for some time over land acquisition and the residents have demanded a re-survey.