Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday inaugurated the natural gas pipeline, connecting the cities of Kochi in Kerala and Mangaluru in Karnataka, saying that project will have a positive impact on the economic growth in the two southern states. Modi said it was an honour to dedicate the 450-km-long Kochi-Mangaluru Natural Gas Pipeline to the country.

“Experts believe that country that works on its connectivity and clean energy will reach new heights in the 21st century,” the prime minister said during a virtual address. “It is not just a pipeline but it can be a major driver of development in both states. India is focusing on a gas-based economy today and a lot of work is being done on ‘One Nation, One Grid’. Gas-based economy is also crucial for Aatmanirbhar Bharat.”

He also listed the benefits of such a project, which includes reducing the costs among classes and industries, bringing in a new model of city gas distribution system in several cities, and developing a Compressed Natural Gas-based transport system.

India’s first natural gas inter-state pipeline was commissioned in 1987, Modi said, adding, “Since then, till 2014, in a gap of 27 years, 15,000 km of natural gas pipeline was built.”

The prime minister also said that India has been working on putting in place 16,000 km new pipelines that will be completed in the near future. The prime minister called his administration’s energy agenda “all-inclusive”, and that an integrated approach is taken in energy planning.

“Since 2014, we’ve brought in various reforms across oil and gas sector,” Modi said. “These reforms cover exploration and production and natural gas marketing and promotion. We plan to achieve One Nation, One Gas Grid. We also want to shift to gas-based economy.”

The prime minister cited his administration’s Swachh Bharat Mission, and the LED bulbs mission to say that the Centre was making several efforts to facilitate the use of clean energy for a better future.

“Blue Economy is set to become a major pillar of Aatmanirbhar Bharat,” he said. “From coasts to coastal roads, they are being connected and we’re specially focused in multimodal connectivity. Our coastal region is also becoming a model of easy living.”

Meanwhile, following the inauguration, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that his administration had fulfilled a promise. “...the government has been able to realise the Kochi-Mangaluru GAIL Pipeline,” he tweeted. “The success of the project is a manifestation of the change in the way business is conducted in the state.”