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Kerala fishermen cooperate for Vizhinjam port but their Tamil Nadu counterparts sabotage Colachel port

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijyan said cooperation of the local population is essential for the success of the major developmental projects that the government is taking up like the Vizhinjam transshipment terminal. Ninety five per cent of the land required for the project has been acquired si far the chief minister said.

He was speaking after distributing compensation to fish workers who have lost their livelihood due to the work related to the Vizhinjam international seaport terminal here on Monday.

“The Vizhinjam port project is one of the most important projects for the development of our State. It is also the biggest building activity that the capital district has witnessed till now. The biggest ships in the world can drop anchor here once it is completed. But for its successful completion, the support and cooperation of the people, especially the local population, are essential. Till now, we have got all the support from the people there. We have been able to acquire 95% of the required land till now,” he said.

In the current phase, compensation is being given to 731 fish workers (those involved in Karamadi fishing based in Adimalathura and Kottappuram. A sum of Rs 4.52 crore will be distributed to 731 fish workers. The compensation amount, which was earlier fixed at RS 2.5 lakh, has been increased to Rs  5.6 lakh. In the project area, compensation amount of Rs 23.87 crore has been distributed to 433 families.

The State government is also spending Rs 2.5 crore every three months to provide kerosene to owners of 1,734 motorized boats, whose work has been affected due to the work on the port terminal.

Fisheries Minister J. Mercykutty Amma said that the compensation amount was increased considering the fact that those who stand to lose their livelihood permanently should be given more than a temporary solace.

“The government will consider the claims of those who have genuine concerns. The regions on the north of Vizhinjam were not earlier considered as project-affected area. But later we found that many fishermen there will lose their livelihood permanently due to the port project. So the concerns from the residents in those areas will be considered. The government does not want people from any area to lose out due to the project,” she said.

Minister for Ports Kadannappally Ramachandran presided over the function.The left front government had opposed the port project initially. But when the shipping ministry threatened to set up the project in nearby Tamil Nadu, the cpim leaders fell in line. The fact that the LDF government extends total cooperation to the project is acknowleged by the officials of the Adani group which is setting up the project.

The left front government has brushed aside criticism of the project by the controller and auditor general and went ahead extending cooperation.

While the Vizhinjam project is going ahead in full steam, another terminal project in nearby Colachel proposed by the shipping ministry has almost been grounded, the project site has beenshifted thrice due to the violent agitation by the Kanyakumari fishermen, While the fishermen in Kerala living fifteen kilometers away have accepted the Vizhinjam project, the TN fishermen continued to be adamant and have gone all out to sabotage the project.

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