The Latin Archdiocese of Thiruvananthapuram, which has deep rooted influence over the fishing community along the coastal stretch of the district, has expressed its reservations over the multi-purpose deepwater port proposed to be built at Vizhinjam, near here.
“We have serious doubts about the manner in which the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was done for the project. The report [over which a public hearing was conducted last week] glosses over issues of concern to the fishing community,” Eugene H. Pereira, Vicar General of the Archdiocese, said here on Thursday.
He was inaugurating a seminar to discuss the ‘Prospects and challenges’ of the project. The church had taken the lead to organise the seminar.
John Jacob Puthur, retired commander in the Indian Navy and the former Chief Instructor at the National Institute of Hydrography in Goa, who presented his views on the shoreline impact of the project said many assertions in the EIA report appeared to be flawed. The project report had said that Vizhinjam port would not require any maintenance dredging. Speaking in his capacity as an expert in marine hydrography, he said massive dredging after each monsoon season would have to be undertaken at Vizhinjam.
Sanjeev Ghosh, former Additional Director of Fisheries in Kerala, said the EIA report was not truthful where it discussed the shoreline impact of the project.
Along the State’s coast, there were 23 fishing harbours with breakwater structures jutting into the sea. The impact of these structures on the shoreline in the neighbouring stretches followed a definite pattern.
To the north of the structures, the shoreline had eroded drastically, whereas there had been land accretion to the south. At Vizhinjam, the breakwater structure would be massive when compared to that created for the fishing harbours. He said the coastal villages to the north of Vizhinjam might experience massive sea erosion as a result of the project.