Indian Oil Corporation’s upcoming LPG Import Terminal at Puthuvypeen, Kochi, will significantly help reduce the backlog for LPG cylinder supply in Kerala, which is currently at about 15 days. It would also minimise the movement of bulk LPG tankers through the highways of the State.
IndianOil is currently moving 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 Ltd. 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 comprehensive project, comprising the Import Terminal, a multi-user liquid terminal, the Kochi-Salem LPG pipeline and a bulk terminal at Palakkad, is being set up at a cost of Rs. 2,200 crore, out of which about Rs. 670 crore is towards labour cost.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had in August 2016 permitted IndianOil to continue with the work. However, a small group of people have been obstructing the work since 16th of February 2017.
The NGT, vide its order of 13th April 2017, has reconfirmed its August 2016 order permitting IndianOil to continue with the work. The High Court of Kerala too had permitted lndianOil last year to carry out the work 24 x 7.
During the NGT hearing of 13.4.2017, the agitators had committed to the Tribunal that they are not obstructing the work nor would they instigate others to obstruct work. IndianOil has been suffering a loss of close to Rs.1 crore per day since the obstruction of work from 16th February 2017.
The project not only has all the necessary approvals in place but is designed to conform to global standards of safety. The IndianOil team has been engaging with all the stake-holders on the safety measures being built into the upcoming terminal, besides the approvals that are in place.
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.
The terminal is being equipped with automatic fire-protection systems as per the norms of the Oil Industry Safety Directorate (OISD). It 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 metres and hence will not disturb any of the fishing activities.
The LPG Import Terminal is a project of national importance and is crucial for maintaining timely supplies of LPG as cooking gas to millions of homes. It may be noted that the demand for LPG grew at more than 10% last year and is expected to grow at the same levels in future. Moreover, the penetration of LPG as cooking gas in the country has jumped to 72% in 2016-17 and the Government expects it to reach 95% by the year 2022.
Research has shown that use of firewood in the kitchen is equivalent to smoking 400 cigarettes per hour. LPG, being a clean cooking fuel, would help improve the health of millions of women and their family members. Being a faster mode of cooking, it also improves productivity of women in households.
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