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Tension simmers in Vizhinjam; Kerala fishermen continue battle against Adani Ports project

Asianet News Network visited the protest site to find out more about how the people of Vizhinjam are gathering without any political support. They are gathering under Church leadership and protesting by their own means. The people's anger against the project is palpable.

Tension simmers in Vizhinjam; Kerala fishermen continue battle against Adani Ports project
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VIZHINJAM PORT, First Published Aug 20, 2022, 10:48 PM IST

Protests continue against the Rs 7,525-crore Vizhinjam International Transhipment Deepwater Multipurpose Seaport by Adani Ports near Thiruvananthapuram. Led by priests of the Latin Archdiocese, the local fisherfolk from the nearby coastal hamlets have been raising their voices against the project, which they feel threatens their livelihood.

Sensing the simmering tension in the Vizhinjam port area, the Kerala government has been holding deliberations over the seven-point charter of demands put forth by the representatives of protesting fisherfolk. The demands include conducting a coastal impact study of the multi-crore projects and the stoppage of construction work at the site in the interim. The government has, for now, put the work on hold for now.

The protesters claim that coastal erosion in the district has been increasing due to the unscientific construction of groynes, the artificial sea walls known as "pulimutt' in local parlance, as part of the upcoming Vizhinjam port. According to reports, protesters have expressed their concerns about around 500 houses and many boats being destroyed on the Veli-Panathura coastal stretch in Thiruvananthapuram ever since the construction work on the project began in December 2015. 

On Friday, fisherfolk from four nearby hamlets, including Pallam and Adimalathura, staged protests on Friday. Kerala Fisheries Minister V Abdurahiman had met the protesters but failed to persuade them to withdraw from the agitation. Emerging from the meeting, fishermen representative Msgr Eugine Pereira said protests would continue till the fishing community's major concerns of coastal erosion are fully addressed.

Tension simmers in Vizhinjam; Kerala fishermen continue battle against Adani Ports project

He further said that the minister had assured permanent housing facility would be set up for the project-affected and that suitable land had already been identified in some places, including a 17.5 acre land in nearby Muttathara for the same. 

But not all are convinced by the promises rolled out by the politicians. Asianet News Network visited the protest site to find out more about how the people of Vizhinjam are gathering without any political support. They are gathering under Church leadership and protesting by their own means. The people's anger is palpable.

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