GAIL begins land survey for gas pipeline, farmers protest in Tamil Nadu

Reported by

Hariprasad Radhakrishnan

Legal Data by

Anmol Gupta, Mukta Joshi

Edited by

Radhika Chatterjee

Updated by

Published on

June 22, 2022

June 22, 2022

Updated on

June 22, 2022

Location of Conflict

Palavadi, Kariappanahalli

Dharmapuri

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Petroleum and Gas

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

ha

Starting Year

2011

State

Tamil Nadu

Sector

Industry

On April 13th, 2022, tensions flared in the Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu after a farmer died by suicide reportedly over fear of his farmland being acquired for the Kochi-Koottanad-Bangalore-Mangalore (KKBM) gas pipeline project. A resident of the Kariappanahalli village, 43 year old Ganesan was among the 50 farmers who had gathered in Palavadi village to protest against the land survey being undertaken by revenue officials for the acquisition of Right of User for the KKBM project. Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) is responsible for executing this pipeline project, which is to be laid from Kochi, passing through Coimbatore, Tirupur, Salem, Erode, Namakkal, Dharmapuri, and Krishnagiri districts in Tamil Nadu, and Bangalore in Karnataka.

The KKBM project received sanction from the Government of India on 4th April, 2011. The project was opposed in Tamil Nadu by farmers living in the area through which the pipeline was supposed to pass. In April 2013, the then AIADMK government led by J. Jayalalithaa directed GAIL to construct the pipeline along national highways and not acquire farmlands. The Madras High Court scrapped the order of the State government in the same year itself. In 2016 the decision of the High Court was upheld by the Supreme Court, which expressed that the State government did not have the authority and expertise to order GAIL to change its pipeline project's alignment.

Proceeding with the project, GAIL proposed a survey for seven locations in Tamil Nadu in April 2022. Farmers of the region gathered to protest the land survey fearing that their lands would be acquired. Dharmapuri Collector S Divyadarshini, told The New Indian Express that the land surveys were conducted only on government land and not on private fields. Following Ganesan's suicide, the Tamil Nadu government announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for his family. It also ordered further inquiry to ascertain the cause for suicide.

Dilli Babu, state secretary of All India Kisan Sabha, told LCW that it was impossible to carry out the project without acquiring agricultural lands. "The village roads are only a few metres wide, and the gas pipelines require a width of about 20 metres. The exact number of farmers who would be affected is not known yet because the surveys are still on," he said. As of May 2022, the KKBM project, which features in the 2023 vision document of the Tamil Nadu government, continues.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Refusal to give up land for the project

Demand for more compensation than promised

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Landowners are demanding that GAIL should realign the pipeline so that they can continue using their lands freely.

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common and Private

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

2365

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Year of Estimation

2022

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines (Acquisition of Right of User in Land) Act, 1962
Section 3 [Union Government to publish notification to acquire right of user in any land in which a pipeline is laid for transport of petroleum. Such laying of pipelines must be in public interest], Section 5 [Affected persons may submit objections to notifications issued under Section 3 within 21 days of publication of notification. Competent authority to give objectors an opportunity to be heard] Section 6 [Union Government to declare the acquisition of right of user in the land in which pipeline is laid after considering objections] Section 9 [Restrictions placed on use of land to include owners/ occupiers planting any tree or constructing tanks, wells or any building] Section 10(2) [If affected parties not satisfied with determined compensation, the amount to be determined by District Judge]
Petroleum and Natural Gas Rules, 1959
Rule 3(2) [The substance of the notification declaring the intent of the Union government to acquire land shall be published by beat of drum in the neighborhood and by affixing a copy in a conspicuous place in the locality]; Rule 3(3) [A copy of the notification declaring the intent of the Union government to acquire land shall be served to every person who is the owner of land as per the revenue records]
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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community?

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Non-consultation with stakeholders

Controversial land acquisition by the government

Incorrect estimation of compensation

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Disposed

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

No

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Supreme Court, Madras High Court

Case Number

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

On October 4, 2012, the Madras High Court disposed of proceedings initiated by GAIL against the Tamil Nadu state government. The Court observed the project to be implemented was in public interest. Grievance of the landowners seemed to be against the alignment. The Court pushed for an amicable way to lay the gas pipeline. It directed that the Chief Secretary of the state government along with the officials of districts was to invite GAIL officials and landowners for a discussion. A public hearing should be followed and then the State Government was to take a decision to facilitate the laying of the gas pipeline. The landowners were reminded that the project was of national importance. However, following the same, the district officials issued communication to GAIL to remove the pipelines. GAIL filed W.P. 12897/2013 before the Madras High Court, which was allowed. The State Government filed SLP(C) Nos.37224 – 37226 of 2013 before the Supreme Court against the 2013 order. The Supreme Court held that the State Government has no jurisdiction to issue any direction to GAIL to alter the alignment of the gas pipeline. The Court directed that the process of market value estimation was to be completed for payment of compensation. However, any party not satisfied with the value could seek reference to a District Court. The latest round of litigation before the Madras High Court (WP 23536 of 2012 on January 21, 2019) concerned individual objections filed by landowners seeking alignment of the pipeline. The Court noted that acquisition proceedings would cause distress and hard feelings amongst landowners. GAIL was directed to take all necessary steps to “convince landowners/ farmers since the project will develop industrialization”. The Court noted that it expected the State Government to also fully cooperate with the same.

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

No items found.

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

No

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Strikes

Protests/marches

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Suicide/attempt at suicide

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

District administrations, Tamil Nadu State Government, Tamil Nadu Police Department

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Gas Authority of India Ltd.

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

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