LPG project in limbo as govt is yet to make up its mind

Project opponents plan to appeal against NGT order, to step up public protest

January 05, 2018 01:32 am | Updated 01:32 am IST - KOCHI

Armed with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order, which dismissed pleas against the controversial LPG project at Puthuvypu, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is all set to resume work on it.

Though the NGT has cleared all legal hurdles, IOC may have to wait for some more time as the State government is yet to make up its mind on the project. The government has not firmed up its view on the N. Purnachandra Rao Committee report, which was commissioned by it following violent protests against the project.

The committee had listed improvements and changes that were to be made at the project site in its report. It had also flagged tsunami and sea surges as possible risks, besides a few other safety concerns. An inquiry report prepared by a group of environmentalists on biodiversity concerns and related aspects of the project is expected to be released on Monday. Those opposed to the project are planning to appeal against the NGT order. They also plan to step up public protest.

IOC sources indicated that the government might convene a meeting shortly to discuss the issue. They said that the expert committee report might not come in the way of resuming work as the NGT had considered the report while pronouncing the judicial order.

Now that all legal hurdles have been cleared, IOC is ready to implement the project, said an IOC official. He also affirmed that the safety apprehensions raised against the project had been proved baseless. Till now, the company has incurred a loss of ₹324 crore. It is estimated that the company loses ₹1 crore a day when the project is delayed, a senior official in charge of the project said.

Meanwhile, the Puthuvypu LPG Terminal Virudha Janakeeya Samara Samiti vowed to take forward the protest till its concerns were addressed. With the Rao panel accepting the apprehensions raised by the residents, the concerns of the locals have been proved genuine, claimed M.B. Jayaghosh, chairman of the committee.

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