Empty chairs greet public hearing on proposed Depot

IMPHAL, Oct 10 : Empty chairs and absence of mass participation from the side of the public marked the first public hearing on the proposed oil depot (POL Depot) at Malom today.

Held at Malom Megha Government High School ground, the proposed oil depot is to be taken up by the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd and was organised by the Manipur Pollution Control Board.

Imphal West Additional District Magistrate Th Chitra Devi, member secretary of MPCB K Jagadiswar, general manager of IOC North East Integrated Office Priobash Dey and senior environmental engineer of MPCB N Minaketan attended the public hearing as chairman, convenor and panel members of the public hearing.

Amid the absence of mass public participation a few representations were submitted to the panel members by some organisations contending that no prior information was given to them.

This however did not stop the main speakers of the day from highlighting the positives of the proposed POL Depot.

Addressing the near total empty ground, N Minaketan gave a detailed account of the proposed depot.

Stressing on the positives of IOCL, Minaketan said that it is one of the biggest energy companies and added that its turnover in 2009-2010 was to the tune of Rs 2,71,000 crores which is equivalent to US 61.3 billion dollars.  Out of this the profit earned in that year stood at Rs 10,221 crores, he said and added that IOCL is the biggest commercial energy company in the country.

Elaborating, Minaketan said that IOCL occupies the 125th position in the list of companies as given in the Global 500 by Fortune Magazine. Amongst the petroleum refinery companies, it stands at the 20th position in the world, he added.

On the proposed setting up of the POL depot, Minaketan said that required area of land has been pegged at 36 acres. Malom is situated about 8 kms from Imphal and 2 kms from Tulihal.

Stating the proposed POL depot would be taken up in two phases, Minaketan said that in the first phase, the depot would store motor spirit, high speed diesel and superior kerosene or white oil. The fuel would be brought from Tinsukia and Numaligarh by tankers.

The storage capacity for MS has been pegged at 5124 kilolitres, SKO at 5055 KL and HSD at 11796 Kl. In the second phase facilities for tank wagon sliding, tank wagon pump house as well as for storing Aviation Fuel would be provided.  The proposed depot will also include the facilities for fire fighting unit, pollution control and adequate security. Stating that the land was bought from the State Government, Minaketan said and highlighted the positive aspects of the project.  Once the project is finalised, then Manipur will not face fuel crisis in the future, he averred and added that besides this it would enhance employment oppor- tunities and improve communication.

Held under the directive of the Ministry of Environment and Forest, information about the public hearing was publicised in the local papers (Manipuri and English) as well as in the National papers.

A local man from Malom, N Mera urged the members present to ensure that employment opportunities are provided to the local people, whose land stand to be affected. He also urged timely payment of the land compensation as well as to keep the rate in sync with the present.

Answering a query raised from a gentleman from Khurai Lamlong, N Brojendro, Priobash Dey said that if all the approvals are received on time, the first phase would take three years to complete. For the second phase, two years from the time the railline reaches Malom would be needed, he added.

A representative from IOCL, JS Patel, while answering a query from a gentleman from Kwakeithel, Premchand, said that the proposed depot is meant only for Manipur and added that there is no plan to expand the market to Myanmar.  The proposed POL depot will stick by the safety guidelines issued by the Chief Controller of Explosives or the safety measures spelt out by the Disaster Management Plan.


Source: The Sangai Express