National Green Tribunal rules out safety concerns of LPG plant in Puthuvype

The samiti said they will not allow the project.

KOCHI: Even as the National Green Tribunal has rejected the petition seeking to stay construction of the Indian Oil Corporation’s LPG Terminal, the Puthuvype LPG Terminal Virudha Janakiya Samara Samiti, a people’s combine spearheading the agitation against LPG project, has decided to intensify the stir.
Representatives of the action council said that they propose to approach the Supreme Court questioning the NGT directive. “We will decide the future course of action after getting details of the verdict. The Samiti may approach the SC if needed as there is no question of allowing the project,” said M.B. Jayaghosh, action council chairman.

According to him, the project is in violation of the guidelines of Union Ministry of Environment and Forest that the hazardous chemical industries should not be set up near densely populated areas. “The terminal also violates the guidelines regarding distance recommended by an inquiry commission appointed by the Union petroleum ministry after an accident occurred at the IOC terminal at Jaipur in 2009,” he added. Local residents are also apprehensive over loss of their livelihood once the project is commissioned.

“A project of this sort is not suitable for a most densely populated coastal area like Puthuvype. The NGT verdict indicates it is least concerned of the safety of people. The documents submitted by various government agencies indicate that the project is in violation of CRZ norms. More than half of the project area is in the inter-tidal zone,” said Purushan Eloor, green activist. In June last, series of strong protest programmes by the action council members and local residents led to a fierce crackdown by the police, forcing the government to intervene.

Following this, the state government announced setting up of an expert committee study the environmental and safety aspects of the LPG terminal. The state government had submitted the expert panel report to the NGT which observed that the report can’t be accepted as the two coastal maps submitted by the state government and the IOC has big difference. The IOC aims at minimising the movement of bulk LPG tankers through the roads through setting up the Rs 2,200 crore project. At present, several bullet tankers carrying LPG from Mangaluru to various LPG bottling plants in Kerala ply through busy highways. The terminal construction was slated to begin back in 2006-07, but the works could not be started even a decade after.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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