Hundreds of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) activists blocked all five gates of the Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd. complex for over six hours on Friday, alleging “breach of protocol” and “insult” to elected representatives of the party during the January 19 launch function of Phase III of the refinery.

The party workers were miffed that BJP MP Nalin Kumar Kateel, district in-charge minister J. Krishna Palemar and Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa were not invited to the event. What had them even more annoyed was that several local Congress leaders were present at the event.

Addressing the gathering, the former president of the district unit of the BJP K. Monappa Bhandary termed the behaviour of the MRPL management “arrogant” and “irresponsible”, while calling for the observance of protocol in future.

Pointing out that the refinery was a Government undertaking, he faulted the management for working like a private sector company and pursuing a “reckless profit motive”.

Pointing out that the twin districts of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada had some of the best engineering colleges in the district, he sought to know why the MRPL management had never recruited local talent. He also demanded to know how many people from families displaced by the plant had been given employment within the refinery.

Blaming the plant for playing a major role in causing pollution in the region, the former BJP MLC Balakrishna Bhat said, “Ours is the most polluted city in the State and MRPL is one of the main reasons for that.”

He said that although large sections of the media had been “muzzled”, some newspapers had been exposing various safety lapses such as fires and oil leaks at the refinery.

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