Even though there is an ongoing protest for the past 134 days against the Vizhinjam port project near here by a section of the local populace, state ports minister Ahamed Devarkovil categorically said that the first ship will dock in the port in September 2023.
“This would be the Onam gift for Kerala. No land of the fishermen has been acquired for the port project. The construction is being carried out with the least damage to the environment and it’s not on account of this construction that there has been sea erosion,” said Devarkovil while speaking at a seminar explaining the need for the Vizhinjam port and its importance for the economy of the state.
“This port is not a private port and does not belong to Adani, this is a port of the state. Studies have proved that there has been a 16 per cent increase in the fisheries resources in the locality as compared to a decade back,” he added.
On Sunday those opposing the project went on a rampage and caused losses to the tune of Rs 85 lakhs, including the ransacking of the Vizhinjam police station.
Over 35 police officials and several protesters were injured in the protests. The police registered cases against 3,000 people.
Fisheries Minister V. Abdurahiman who also spoke at the seminar said anyone who is opposing this project can be termed as anti-national.
“What’s happening at Vizhinjam is not a mere protest, but something else. It’s not that we cannot do anything to implement the court order, instead we have been trying for a consensus,” said Abdurahiman.
What’s surprising is that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who was supposed to inaugurate the seminar failed to turn up.
Meanwhile, as the situation at Vizhinjam continues to be tense, the state government on Tuesday appointed DIG of police Nishanthini with 5 SPs under her to ensure that proper security is maintained.
The port project was cleared and work began on it during the fag end of the Oommen Chandy government from 2011-16. When the Ockhi waves hit the port site in 2017, a lot of damage was caused, throwing the work into a limbo.
And adding to the confusion on Tuesday was a news item (which has by now gone viral) which had earlier appeared in the CPI-M party organ in 2016, which had slammed the Chandy government for giving the project to a corporate house, Adani. Today they say that this project is going to be a game changer for the state and the economy.