Kerala: Church Warns Of Intensifying Protests Against Crucial Vizhinjam Transshipment Port

by India Infrahub - Aug 29, 2022 12:29 PM +05:30 IST
Kerala: Church Warns Of Intensifying Protests Against Crucial Vizhinjam Transshipment PortFishermen led by Church representatives laying siege to under construction Vizhinjam port in Kerala (PTI)
Snapshot
  • Circular from Latin Archdioceses warning about intensifying the protests against Vizhinjam port was read out in all churches during the Sunday mass.

    Meanwhile, another Christian body Kerala Conference of Major Superiors (KCMS), extended its support to the agitation against Vizhinjam port.

    On the other hand, Adani Ports, which is building the transshipment port in Vizhinjam, filed a petition in the Kerala High Court seeking police protection for its workers.

The Latin Archdioceses of Thiruvananthapuram, which is leading the protests against Vizhinjam port construction, stated that the protest would be intensified.

In a circular, Monsignor Thomas J. Netto, Archbishop of the Latin Archdiocese of Thiruvananthapuram, advised the people not to fall into the trap of attempts to divide the protesting fisherfolk over the issue.

This circular from the Latin Archdiocese was read out in all churches during the Sunday (29 August) mass here in the morning, reports The Hindu.

Meanwhile, another Christian body Kerala Conference of Major Superiors (KCMS), extended its support to the agitation against Vizhinjam port.

Protests led by the priests of the Latin Archdiocese are pressing for a seven-point charter of demands, including halting the construction work and to conduct a coastal impact study in connection with the multi-crore project.

On the other hand, Adani Ports, which is building the transshipment port in Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram, filed a petition in the Kerala High Court seeking police protection from those protesting against the construction work.

The Adani Group, in its plea, stated that the ongoing agitation by fishermen was a threat to the life of its employees, and the government was not taking any action in this regard despite representations made.

It prayed for a court direction to the state government to provide adequate police security to the project.

Vizhinjam port location with respect to international East-West shipping route
Vizhinjam port location with respect to international East-West shipping route

Significance of Vizhinjam Port

The deep-water, multipurpose, international seaport and container transshipment terminal at Vizhinjam is being constructed by Adani Vizhinjam Ports Pvt Ltd (AVPPL). It is expected to boost India's maritime ambitions significantly.

The port project was signed during the tenure of the Congress-led UDF government led by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. The Adani Group and the Kerala government signed a Rs 7,525 crore deal, but the project hit several roadblocks and controversies.

When construction began on 5 December 2015, group chief Gautam Adani claimed that the first ship would berth there on 1 September 2018, in less than 1,000 days.

Cyclone Okchi devastated the region in 2017, destroying a portion of the built breakwater. Since then, a further delay has been brought on by the lack of limestone, the project's most important raw material.

Phase 1 of the project is now close to 80 per cent complete.

Vizhinjam Port under construction
Vizhinjam Port under construction

Once complete, Vizhinjam will emerge as a significant competition to the transshipment ports of Colombo, Singapore and Dubai as it is the only transshipment hub in the Indian subcontinent, closest to the international shipping routes, and is centrally located on the Indian coastline. It has a natural draft of 20-24 m and minimal littoral drift.

The port will also offer infrastructure to handle Megamax containerships. Its capacity in phase 1 is 1 million TEUs; in subsequent phases, another 6.2 million TEUs will be added.

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