Kerala GAIL Project – Bringing More Benefits to the Common Man
The 500-km natural gas pipeline, traversing the districts of Kasaragod, Kannur, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Thrissur, Ernakulam and Palakkad, could well be described as a new lifeline for Kerala. The project envisages the building of a natural gas infrastructure that could bring about dramatic changes in both the economy as well as the quality of life in the State.
Here are a few ways in which the GAIL project will help transform the life of the average Keralite.
More Power: The news of a power crisis is not something new to the common Keralite. In fact, it is an annual ritual. As the summer heat deepens and the monsoon clouds play truant, screaming newspaper headlines blare out the obvious – the people of the state have to go through yet another season of power cuts and blackouts. Building a natural gas infrastructure – which includes the setting up of a 1200 MW gas based power plant at Cheemeni in Kasaragod – will go a long way in bridging the estimated 1700 MW power deficiency expected by the year 2016-17. The GAIL project allows us to dream about a Kerala summer without dark/ hot homes reeling and sweating under the ubiquitous power cut.
More Cooking Fuel: The City Gas Distribution system being set up by the Kerala Gail Gas Limited – a joint venture between KSIDC and Gail Gas – will prove to be a boon to harried housewives as well as small commercial establishments like roadside eateries and small hotels in cities like Kochi. There will now be an alternative to LPG. The City Gas Distribution will provide Piped Natural Gas ‘on tap’. The ordinary housewife and the small hotelier need no longer worry about when the next LPG cylinder will arrive. Just turn on the gas stove for a clean, blue flame 24×7. Of course, there is also the additional benefit of paying only after the gas is consumed.
More Employment: The Gail project will bring about an improvement in the power supply as well as provide raw material or feedstock to power units and factories. This will bring about an improvement in the State’s industrial performance. In addition, small industrial units which have run into the red due to lack of power, will also benefit. The resultant economic activity will boost employment figures in the state. The setting up of the natural gas infrastructure will also have a direct, beneficial impact on employment.
More Economic Benefits: The Kerala Gail Gas Limited will be setting up CNG stations and the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) fleet will be converted to CNG. This again has economic benefits for the common people. The conversion to CNG will help improve KSRTC’s financial performance. CNG vehicles are more economical than diesel vehicles in the long run due to lower maintenance costs and lower running costs. Diesel buses have a shorter engine life because of the build-up of carbon. Natural gas engines, on the other hand, have virtually no carbon build-up, so ring wear is reduced and engine life is extended. Tune-ups and oil changes for natural gas vehicles aren’t needed as frequently because compressed natural gas burns so much cleaner than diesel. Improvement in KSRTC’s financial performance will definitely help the common taxpayer. His hard-earned, valuable tax money will no longer be sunk into a poorly performing state asset, but will be used for the common good.
More Health and Wellness: Natural gas is one of the cleanest fuels. It emits less pollutants thus resulting in a greener, cleaner Kerala. Improvement in air quality will lead to lower rate of respiratory diseases and better health and wellness.
Earlier, states like Delhi and Gujarat changed direction and switched over to natural gas very successfully. A natural gas infrastructure has given both these states valuable dividends in terms of a cleaner and healthier economy. Kerala and her people too will benefit once the GAIL project becomes fully operational.