State-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC) today said its proposed LPG import terminal at Puthuvypeen in Kochi, construction of which has witnessed violent protest, will help reduce backlog for cooking gas in Kerala. IOC said the backlog of supplies in Kerala is 15 days and the new import facility was aimed at easing the same. Also, the import terminal would minimize the movement of bulk LPG tankers through the highways in the state. IOC moves bulk LPG from Mangalore to various LPG bottling plants in North Kerala through about 100 bullet trucks every day, which ply on narrow highways. “A pipeline connecting the proposed LPG import terminal to Kochi Refineries and the LPG bottling plants at Udayamperoor, Palakkad, Coimbatore, Erode and Salem would go a long way in reducing congestion on the state highways,” the company said in a statement.
Besides the import terminal, the Rs 2,200 crore project comprises a multi-user liquid terminal, the Kochi-Salem LPG pipeline and a bulk terminal at Palakkad. Out of this, about Rs 670 crore is only towards labor cost, it said.
IOC said the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had in August 2016 permitted the company to continue with the work. However, a small group of people has been obstructing the work since February 16. “The NGT, vide its order of April 13, 2017, has reconfirmed iitsAugust 2016 order permitting IOC to continue with the work. The High Court of Kerala too had permitted IOC last year to carry out the work 24×7,” the statement said. The company said during the NGT hearing on April 13 this year, the agitators had committed to the Tribunal not to obstruct work. “IOC has been suffering a loss of close to Rs one crore per day since the obstruction of work from February 16, 2017,” it said.
The nation’s largest oil firm said the project not only has all the necessary approvals in place but is designed to conform to global standards of safety. Stating that its team has been engaging with all the stake-holders on safety measures, IOC said the terminal will store LPG in mounded vessels, which are considered the safest in the industry worldwide. These vessels are made of 45-mm thick boiler quality steel plates and will be buried deep in the sand, surrounded by a 1.25-metre thick reinforced concrete wall. Also, the terminal is being equipped with automatic fire-protection systems and is being constructed in the Special Economic Zone notified by the Central Government in 2006 for the specific purpose of setting up industries. “The coastal stretch of the project is only 690 meters and hence will not disturb any of the fishing activities,” the statement said.