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Police arrest 204 for protest against Puthyvype LNG plant

KOCHI: Njarackal police removed protesters from the Puthuvype LNG import terminal of the IOC on Wednesday after they allegedly disrupted the functioning of the plant. According to police, as many as 204 protesters were arrested and removed from the spot. The arrested persons were booked under sections 188, 283, 143, 145 147 and 149 of the IPC and were later let go on bail.

District collector had given out instructions to ensure police protection for the smooth functioning of the terminal of Indian Oil Corporation.

The district collector’s direction to the rural district police chief came in the wake of orders of the state and central governments, the Kerala high court and the National Green Tribunal.

High court had on September 8 ordered the police to provide necessary protection to the LPG terminal in the special economic zone of Puthuvype. The order was applicable to all persons connected with the terminal, including the company’s property, employees and contractors.

Varapuzha archbishop Joseph Kalathilparambil meanwhile condemned the arrest and police atrocity. “Abolishing people’s protest is not the right way. There are more than 1,000 families residing in a one kilometer radius of the project. The people are apprehensive about the project leading to disasters in the future. The protest demanding clarity on these issues was dealt with brute force using police and this is not fair,” an official release of the Verapoly archdiocese stated.

An IOC press release stated that the project has automatic fire protection system as per Oil Industry Safety Directorate (OISD) norms. “The project is being constructed in the Special Economic Zone notified by the Centre in 2006 for the specific purpose of setting up industries. The coastal stretch of the project is only 690 metres and wide access is available from the village to the sea. Hence, the project will not disturb any fishing activity,” it said.

Meanwhile, the residents have called for a hartal at Puthuvype on Thursday.

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