Early decision on LNG project in Kerala

Friday, 20 December 2002, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee Friday assured Kerala Chief Minister A.K Antony that an early decision would be taken on setting up a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at Kochi, the commercial hub of the state.

"The prime minister said a committee headed by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman K.C. Pant has been set up to study the project and an early decision would be taken on the project implementation," Antony told reporters here.

Petronet LNG, a consortium led by state-owned oil and gas companies, is to set up the 2.5 million metric tonne per annum terminal at Kochi, from where LNG is to be regassified for supply to the Kayamkulam thermal plant and to Mangalore.

The project was originally scheduled to be completed by 2003 and the gas pipeline from the regassification terminal to the power plant by 2005, said Antony.

Under a long-term agreement with Rasgas of Qatar, Petronet LNG is to receive LNG gas from Qatar as part of a deal that includes supply of five million metric tonnes LNG at Dahej terminal in Gujarat, said Antony.

He expressed hope that the petroleum ministry would take an early decision to ensure the project was complete by December 2004.

On a four-day visit to Delhi to get clearances for several projects in the field of agriculture, health, water, power, railways and drought relief, Antony said the prime minister has also assured action on the Vallarpadam transhipment hub that is planned off Kochi.

"The prime minister has assured that the financial bids would be called for the 20 billion transhipment project by March and the work on it could start by April," said Antony.

The transhipment hub project is important not only for the revenue and employment it would generate in Kerala but also for the exporters and importers who currently have to use the services of terminals in Colombo, Dubai and Singapore for transhipment of their containers by larger ocean vessels to the destinations.

Antony disclosed that for the first time, the state would be playing host to the National Youth Festival from January 12-15 for which the federal government would be giving 10 million.

"To get the preparations underway, the centre has immediately released 750,000," he said.

Kerala's plea to upgrade the homeopathy and ayurveda colleges in Thiruvananthapuram to centres of excellence has also been given the go ahead.

"The work will be started as soon as the central funding is made available," said Antony.
Source: IANS
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