Kochi

Work on LPG terminal, storage facilities begins amid protests

Police personnel keep a watch over the entrance to the project site of the LPG terminal on Puthyvype island near Kochi on Monday as Indian Oil Corporation restarted work on the site after three years. The district administration imposed Section 144 of the CrPC around the project site.

Police personnel keep a watch over the entrance to the project site of the LPG terminal on Puthyvype island near Kochi on Monday as Indian Oil Corporation restarted work on the site after three years. The district administration imposed Section 144 of the CrPC around the project site.  

Locals to block panchayat office tomorrow, march to project site on Saturday

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), which is establishing a cooking gas receiving jetty and storage facilities on Puthuvype Island, resumed work on the project after a gap of about three years amid tight police protection even as local residents, under the aegis of an organisation protesting against the facility, mounted a campaign to stop the work.

The work was stopped in June 2017 after a blockade by the people, who expressed the fear that the project posed a grave threat to their lives in case of an accident. They have demanded that the storage facility be shifted to Ambalamugal, where there is land available. These allegations have been denied by IOC. The oil company maintained that the upcoming facility had the latest safety arrangements to take care of any emergency situation.

But, K.S. Murali, convenor of Puthuvype LNG Terminal Virudha Janakeeya Samara Samithy, said on Monday that the people would defy the declaration of Section 144 CrPC around the project area to march to site on Saturday.

Ahead of that, on Wednesday, people would blockade the panchayat office in protest against the government decision to let the work restart.

“While the government should offer us protection, it is helping build the project,” said Mr. Murali, who spoke after a meeting of local residents who reiterated their concerns.

Safety issues

About 400 police personnel, drawn from Kochi city and neighbouring police stations, kept a watch over the situation even as IOC officials said work had resumed and reiterated their commitment to the safety of the lives and property of the people who live in the project neighbourhood. IOC said in a statement on Monday that as the construction of the LPG import terminal had restarted, “we would like to reaffirm its safety”.

The company said that around 75,000 bulk LPG bullet truck movements took place across congested Kerala roads to and from Mangaluru to supply cooking gas. This is highly risky and, during the last five years, road accidents in Kerala due to LPG bullet trucks have crossed 60.

“Accidents are still happening and any of them can become gruesome,” the IOC statement said, as it cited recent accidents at Karunagapally, Kollam district and Chala in Kannur district.

IOC is therefore committed to lay cross country pipelines in the State to reduce road transportation of bulk LPG and the “Puthuvypeen terminal is essential for this so that LPG could be brought by sea to Cochin and further transported to various bottling plants by pipeline”.

The joint venture of IOC and Kochi Salem Pipeline Private Limited (KSPPL) is already in the process of laying pipelines in the State and it is expected to completely shift the LPG bulk movement in the State through pipelines once the LPG Import Terminal is completed.

The Puthuvype terminal has adopted global standards of safety norms. One third of the cost of the terminal was spent on its safety, said the IOC statement. The risk analysis study conducted by PDIL (Projects and Development India Limited, a PSU) also established that the terminal was safe, IOC added.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 7:29:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/work-on-lpg-terminal-storage-facilities-begins-amid-protests/article30324439.ece

Next Story