The Indian Oil Corporation's (IOC) LPG import terminal at Puthuvypeen in Kochi will not be dropped despite the strong protests against it in the area though work will be stopped till a panel of experts ascertains if there were any violations in clearances, said Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday.
Vijayan was talking to reporters in Thiruvananthapuram soon after a meeting with the representatives of those who are protesting against the project, citing safety and security problems to local residents.
"The IOC is spending one-third of its project cost to ensure that it is a fool-proof safety project. At no cost will the project be shelved as it would send very wrong signals, when Kerala is looking for major development.
"But we are very concerned about the issues of safety that the people from there have raised. So we decided to appoint a committee of experts who will study if there have been violations in the environment clearance that this project has received. This is the biggest concern of the people there," he said.
Vijayan said that at the meeting on Wednesday, the IOC officials said that they will stop the ongoing work, till the expert committee submits its study report on if there was any violation in the environment clearance for the project.
The work began at the Puthuvypeen terminal in 2012 after obtaining all clearances but the locals have been on a protest mode.
In April, the National Green Tribunal's Chennai bench gave a clear verdict that the IOC has followed every norm and directed authorities to see that there is no disruption to the work.
However, since then there have been sporadic incidents of protests and last week it went out of control, as protesters clashed with police.
Following this, Vijayan decided to call a meeting.
The import terminal is coming up at a cost of Rs 2,200 crore, with the project comprising a multi-user liquid terminal, the Kochi-Salem LPG pipeline and a bulk terminal at Palakkad.
The IOC had pointed out that it is losing money to the extent of Rs one crore every day when the work gets stopped.