The Shipping and Port Ministry of the Government of India is backtracking from the much celebrated transhipment project in Kanyakumari amid stiff opposition from local fishermen community.
The fisherman are worried that with the commencement of the project, there would be a sharp decline in the catch thus affecting their livelihood.
The Port Trust has already withdrawn the expression of interest it had called for construction of the Private, Public, Participatory (PPP) model of Transhipment project.
The Kanyakumari transhipment project has become a major election issue in Tamil Nadu after the Tuticorn port had released advertisements in major news papers calling for Expression of Interest from private players for the construction of the port.
The Union government had planned to construct an international transhipment hub in the PPP mode in the area between Kovalam and Thenthamarakulam.
The central government had initiated the process to complete the project in three stages. Several organisations including many fisherman organisations had come out on the streets against the transhipment project at Kanyakumari.
It may be recalled that an office for the proposed Transhipment project was opened in Kanyakumari before the 2019 general elections.
In the 2019 polls, Congress candidate H. Vasanthakumar had promised the people of Kanyakumari that if he was elected he would not allow the construction of the port.
The then Union minister of state for Shipping, Pon Radhakrishnan was the NDA candidate from Kanyakumari Lok Sabha elections in 2019. He was trounced by Vasanthakumar by a margin of around 3 lakh votes from the constituency which he had won by around 1 lakh votes in 2014.
After the passing away of Vasanthakumar, Kanyakumari is facing a bypoll and Pon Radhakrishnan is locking horns with the son of late Vasanthkumar, Vijay Vasanth who has promised the electorate that he would not allow the building of the Transhipment project.
Sensing political reversals in the Kanyakumari, Colachel, Nagercoil and adjacent assembly seats, the ruling AIADMK has also distanced itself from the project with Dalavai Sundaram categorically ruling out the project in Kanyakumari.
BJP leader and Lok Sabha candidate of the party for Kanyakumari by-elections Radhakrishnan told IANS: “Projects which the people don’t want will not be foisted upon them and as there is stiff opposition to this project and Government of India will not go ahead with this.”