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Kerala Govt. told to hear people’s grievances on petrochemical unit at Ambalamugal in Kochi

‘Lack of green belt and buffer zone around project site affecting normal life’

The Assembly Committee on Petitions has directed Government authorities to hear the grievances of people living near the Propylene Derivative Petrochemical Project (PDPP) unit of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited at Ambalamugal. It is alleged that lack of green belt and buffer zone around the site has affected normal life.

A committee comprising officials of the Industries Department, State Pollution Control Board, and other agencies has been told to come up with a report based on their meeting with local residents. The committee members should hear the company authorities and get back to the Petitions Committee. Residents had complained about noise and air pollution owing to failure on the part of the company to follow environmental norms.

Committee chairman K.B. Ganesh Kumar, MLA, sought an explanation from Industries Department officials on how a report prepared by an expert committee appointed by the Government to study the issue was presented before the National Green Tribunal without presenting it to the Petitions Committee. The company authorities had recalled the findings of the expert committee constituted by the Government while defending their position before the Southern Bench of the tribunal.

Senior officials, who attended the sitting of the Petitions Committee held here on Wednesday, said the expert team recommended by it could refer to the findings of the technical committee formed on the directive of the Central Pollution Control Board while meeting the petitioners and company officials. The petitioners had alleged that the first committee appointed by the Government was biased in its findings.

The company authorities had pointed out earlier that all safety and pollution control measures had been adopted in the project area. The PDPP units were set up as per the Oil Industry Safety Directorate (OISD) / Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization (PESO) guidelines by maintaining the distance criteria specified in the status, they said.

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