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24th August 2022 (6 Topics)

Protest against under-construction Vizhinjam port

Context

The week-long ongoing protests against the construction of the Adani Group’s Vizhinjam International Transhipment Deepwater Multipurpose Seaport in Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram has intensified recently with fisherfolk laying siege to the port from the sea and land.

About

Vizhinjam Port Project:

  • The Vizhinjam International Transhipment Deepwater Multipurpose Seaport is an ambitious project taken up by Government of Kerala.
  • It is designed primarily to cater container transhipment besides multi-purpose and break bulk cargo.
  • The port is being currently developed in landlord model with a Public Private Partnership component on a design, build, finance, operate and transfer (“DBFOT”) basis.
  • The Vizhinjam Port will be India’s first “mega transshipment container terminal”.

Demand of protestors:

  • The biggest demand of the protesters is that the construction of the port and container transhipment terminal at Vizhinjam should be stopped and a proper environmental impact study should be carried out.  
  • Rehabilitation of families, who lost their homes to sea erosion,
  • Effective steps to mitigate coastal erosion,
  • Financial assistance to fisherfolk on days weather warnings are issued,
  • Compensation to families of those who lose their lives in fishing accidents,
  • Subsidised kerosene, and
  • A mechanism to dredge the Muthalappozhi fishing harbour in Anchuthengu in Thiruvananthapuram district.

The Government stand:

  • The government has conceded all demands except providing a kerosene subsidy, and halting the construction of the port.
  • It has agreed to find accommodation for relocated families before end of this month.
  • Boost to economy: The port will have 30 berths, and will be able to handle giant “megamax” container ships.
  • This ultramodern port, located close to major international shipping routes, will boost India’s economy.
  • The port is expected to compete with Colombo, Singapore, and Dubai for a share of trans-shipment traffic.

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