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Tuesday, Oct 10, 2006

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KCCI calls for withdrawal of curfew

Our Bureau

`Restoring normalcy should be top priority'

Mangalore , Oct. 9

The Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) has requested the Karnataka Government to withdraw curfew in Mangalore, except in the trouble-prone areas.

In a letter to the Karnataka Chief Secretary, Ms Malathi Das - copies of which were released to the press here on Monday - the KCCI President, Capt J.P. Menezes, said, "Unfortunately, curfew has been declared over a very wide area. We request that the curfew be withdrawn totally, except in the trouble-prone areas where it can be replaced by stringent vigil and action by forces."

Terming Mangalore as an enterprise area, he said that over one lakh self-employed people and more than four lakh employees were there in the areas affected by curfew.

Restoration of normalcy should be top priority of the State Government. This is not the time for a blame game. Whatever has happened can be reviewed for root cause analysis and internal and external assessment for remedial action in the near term, he said.

The letter said that a few companies of the Rapid Action Force and the Central Reserve Police Force should be stationed in Mangalore to guard and intervene, if necessary, to protect vital installations such as the refinery, airport, port, railway stations and Government offices.

The industries and enterprises should be encouraged to commence normal production, he added.

Operations unaffected

Operations at New Mangalore Port and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals (MRPL) have not been affected by the prolonged curfew in Mangalore.

Sources in New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT) told Business Line that the port operations are not being affected. Vessels are being berthed. Gangs are being allotted, based on demands.

However, two vessels carrying fertiliser cargo did not berth. They said that the agents werenot ready for their berthing. Since the cargo has to be moved through lorries on road, clearance will be a problem for them, they added.

The continued curfew has not affected the operations at MRPL at Kuttettur in Mangalore taluk. Sources said that staff members living in MRPL Township were working extra hours to meet the shortage of staff.

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