11/12/2007 (The Peninsula), Thiruvananthapuram - Kerala’s anti-imperialist slogans rent the air today, though in a corner of the northern Beypore port by a small band of activists, protesting against the import of palmolein.
Some 15 Yuva Janata Dal activists tried to block the unloading of palm oil, which was carried in barges to the shore from Malaysian ship Earthsong. The ship had earlier berthed at Kochi, following the lifting of a ban on imports through the port.
The Federal ban on import through Kochi was stayed by the High Court recently. The ship, laden with 6,000 metric tones palm oil, set sail after unloading the cargo. The protesters, content with raising slogans, marched to the city and dispersed.
The Government has decided to appeal against the order of the Kerala High Court staying the ban of palm oil import at Kochi port.
Agriculture Minister Mullakara Ratnakaran is leaving for New Delhi tomorrow to urge the Federal Government to suspend import of palm oil, which would affect interests of coconut growers in Kerala.
Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan, reacting to Earthsong’s berthing at Kochi, asked the Federal Government to appeal against the High Court’s lifting the import ban at Kochi.
Meanwhile, Commerce Secretary Gopal Krishna Pillai told reporters in Delhi that the State Government had not sought a blanket ban on the import of palm oil and the Federal Government would respond favourably if Kerala raised such a demand.