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Adani-Vijayan to meet in January to discuss Vizhinjam Seaport Project

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Protests against the Vizhinjam Seaport Project do not seem to end soon, and push the humanity v/s economy debate even further. Recently, a mob consisting of the fishing communities and led by the Latin Catholic Church, stopped the construction at the Vizhinjam Seaport, vandalised the local police station and thrashed 27 police personnel.

Karan Adani, the CEO of Adani Ports and SEZ Ltd,, will meet Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in Thiruvananthapuram on January 6, to discuss the progress of the INR 7,525 crore international infrastructural project. After the Church-led projects died down, this is the first meeting between Adani Group and the LDF Government.

On one hand, Adani wants to take leverage of the freight diverted from Sri Lanka to India and develop India’s port infrastructure to take advantage of the demand; On the other hand, the fishermen community presents its arguments on the basis of sustainability and their own survival. The fishermen said that the project will cause large-scale coastal erosion and threaten their livelihoods. They said the port will reduce their catch by destroying beaches and fish habitat, besides triggering frequent high tidal waves, which will damage the coast and threaten their homes. The protesters also want a study done on the ecological impact of the sea port. 

As per sources at the office of Ports Minister Ahamed Devarkovil, Adani Ports has apprised the state government of Karan Adani’s visit and sought appointments with the CM Devarkovil, the Chief Secretary and the Finance Secretary early in January. As per the agreement, the government has to provide 25% of the estimated cost of the breakwater project once 30% of the construction is completed. The State will have to provide INR 400 crore immediately, and Adani may want the CM to intervene and get the funds granted immediately.

“Adani Ports is keen to expedite the Vizhinjam port construction as it wants to complete the first phase as early as possible. It feels the crisis in Sri Lanka has hit operations at the Colombo transshipment port, which will will create huge opportunities for Vizhinjam port. Karan Adani may seek steps to clear the hurdles in the port’s construction and discuss funding issues,” said an officer.

Apparently, fishing activity in the area are hampering barge operations, which is turning into clashes between port authority and the fishermen. Adani may also demand that the government declare the area around the port project as a ‘no-fishing zone’.

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