Kochi: The first phase of the City Gas project in Kochi, which envisages supply of gas to households through pipelines, is expected to be ready by December next year, Chief Secretary E K Bharat Bhushan Saturday said.
Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Authority Board (PNGRAB) had recently notified Ernakulam District for the City Gas project, Bharat Bhushan told reporters .
Nearly five lakh residents of Kochi city and nearby areas would be benefited by the project, when completed, he said. There was no need for any apprehensions and it was a safe project, he said.
Ernakulam is the only district in Kerala to get the project. Pune, Thane, Ranga Reddy and Medak districts in Andhra Pradesh and Bengaluru Rural and Urban are among the districts which have been notified.
S P Garg, General Manager (Health and Safety Environment) GAIL said Natural gas was the fuel of 21st century and was very safe. Since it was lighter than air, even if there was leakage it would get easily diluted.
GAIL Deputy General Manager K P Ramesh, said this was the first time a state government had given blanket permission for the pipelines crossing water bodies, roads among others under government control.
The first phase of the project from Kochi-Kootanad is almost complete and from Kootanad-Mangalore, the work has come to a standstill due to the protests.
Of the 505 km pipeline passing through Kerala, only 52 km has been completed. The pipeline network covers 310 km in Tamil Nadu and 70 km in Karnataka.
The Madras High Court has recently set aside a Tamil Nadu Government order against the laying of pipelines through farm lands, thus clearing work of GAIL pipeline network.
Petronet LNG Terminal, which began supplying gas to Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore (FACT) and BPCL here in August this year, has expressed concern that only 50 odd km of the pipeline network was completed and major party of the network of over 900 km that would be transporting LNG to the northern districts of Kerala and the states of Tamil nadu and Karnataka was not ready.
The City Gas project include CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) for vehicles and Piped Natural Gas (PNG) for households and small industries. This will also be a boon to other cities in Kerala like Thrissur, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Kasaragod.
The Kochi-Mangalore GAIL pipeline laying work has been affected in Thrissur, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Kannur and Kasaragod following protests by the local community. In Malappuram they did not even allow a camp to be set up, sources said.