Different Strokes: In Puthuvype no vote for candidates supporting LPG terminal

Ernakulam: Surrounded by beautiful beaches, Puthuvype in Ernakulam has a different point of view on what you generally perceive as development. People's representatives might be thumping their chest in bringing factories and gas terminals to their electoral constituencies but Puthvype residents of Ernakulam Loksabha have an alternate view. They are asking the candidates about their views on the Indian oil LPG terminal in the area, whoever comes for canvassing at their door.

‘Candidates must reveal stance on LPG project’

According to a report published in the HINDU, the residents of Puthuvype area in Ernakulam constituency are seeking to know from the candidates in fray for 2019 Loksabha about their stand on LPG project. “We want to know their stance on our struggle that has reached nearly 800 days. If they stand with us, we will stand with them,” said M.B. Jayaghosh, chairman of the LPG Terminal Virudha Janakeeya Samara Samiti. The Indian Oil Corporation LPG terminal project is on halt since February 2017 after the islanders launched an indefinite protest. The protesters allege that the project is being promoted by Indian Oil without considering the views of the locals. Jayaghosh also said that the fight at Puthuvype is one for survival and against authorities who are trying to destroy the environment by coming up with huge infrastructure projects. “Our fight is similar to the fight being undertaken by several people and organisations in the State and outside against big-ticket projects that undermine the ecology and force people out of their homelands,” he said.

‘Environmental hazard’

The LPG terminal virudh janakeeya samara samiti along with more than 1,000 families residing within a one-kilometre radius of the IOC project have been protesting, citing concern that the project will turn out to be an environmental hazard. They have also expressed fear of a possible blast at the IOC site in the future. Terming the IOC project an example of how growing capitalism can impact the environment, people of samiti pointed out that people’s resistance remained the key to the battle against capital encroachment on the environment.

The project has got clearance from NGT

"Despite all statutory clearances the protest is going on and it is politically influenced," said an IOCL official having knowledge of the matter related to LPG terminal project on condition of anonymity. IOCL did not come on record for any statement but maintained its position that the project, apart from having all the statutory clearances has been given the go-ahead by the National Green Tribunal as well. According to officials, the facilities, including the storage complex, will feature the latest safety measures.