Police were today directed by the Ernakulam district administration to protect the LPG import terminal and storage facility in nearby Puthuvype Island after residents in the area staged a protest against it. District Collector K Mohammed Y Safirulla directed the district police chief to provide adequate protection to the terminal to ensure its smooth functioning, hours after the residents in the area, including women and children, staged a protest near the terminal today. Work on the facility was stalled for several days following protest by people under the banner of 'LPG Terminal Virudha Janakyeeya Samara Samiti' near the work site. The administration said the decision to deploy police at the terminal was taken in view of a recent High Court order that the terminal, functioning in the Special Economic Zone in Puthuvype, should be provided police protection. Officials said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had held meeting with the protesters and appealed to them not to prevent the works at the terminal site. The agitators claimed that Indian Oil Corporation was building the facility in violation of environmental norms. The district administration said the LPG terminal and storage facilities had received all clearances from various agencies, including the Environment Ministry. Earlier in the day, the protesters staged strike alleging that the LPG import and storage facilities threatened the lives of people living nearby.
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