Kerala told to hold talks with IOC for laying rail tracks to units

A Division Bench of the High Court of Kerala directed the Kerala State government to hold consultations with the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) for laying railway tracks to the existing LPG bottling units or shifting them to areas where bulk loads could be taken through railway.

The order was issued by Justice C.N. Ramachandran Nair and C.K. Abdul Rahim while considering a public interest litigation seeking an order for judicial inquiry into the recent tanker disaster and consequent deaths at Chala in Kannur. The petitioner had also sought directives to the IOC for providing adequate compensation to the victims of the accident.

The court observed that the best solution for bulk transport of hazardous and explosive materials like LPG would be through rail in view of the recurring accidents involving tankers that are operated through the narrow roads of the State. The option of establishing bottling units only near railway tracks for transport of LPG and also for cylinders in bulk shall be considered. If the railway line could be provided without much cost to the existing bottling units, probably shifting should be avoided.

The risk factor could be completely removed by avoiding transport of bulk LPG though road. The court would consider the case after two months.

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