33 acres of beach handed over to Ports Department

While welcoming the State government decision to commence coastal shipping services from the Kollam port which forms part of the Tangasseri breakwater harbour complex, P.K. Gurudasan, MLA, has said the government has to be more serious in ensuring the cooperation of all sections in developing the port complex which is located in one of the biggest fishing sectors of the State.

In a statement here on Saturday, he said that during the term of the previous Left Democratic Front (LDF) government all decisions pertaining to the development of the port were taken with general agreement after holding discussions with representatives of the people and leaders of the fishermen and social organisations.

But the present United Democratic Front (UDF) government was taking no such initiative, he alleged.

Mr. Gurudasan said that on May 9, a meeting called by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had taken the decision to hand over 33 acres of the beach to the Department of Ports for the development of the Kollam Port.

The decision had triggered widespread protests in the area. On May 29, another meeting to discuss the same problem was called by the Principal Secretary of the Department. “Though I am the representative of the people from the area in the Assembly, I was not invited for both the meetings.”

Other representatives of the people and leaders of fishermen and social organisations active in the area were also ignored.

He reiterated that all decisions taken for the development of the port should be in cooperation with all concerned. Cargo handling at the port had commenced in 2010 and at that time all trade unions of headload workers had extended full cooperation following talks held with them.

But after that, cargo handling at the port remained suspended since the past two-and-a-half years.

Though all formalities pertaining to the purchase of forklifts and a crane for the port was completed in 2011, the forklift arrived last year but the crane had not been installed there.

The Rs.7-crore allocated for the development of the port in the 2011-12 fiscal was utilised for dredging and construction of an auction hall at the fish landing site within the harbour complex.

The auction hall needed to be constructed because the old auction hall had to be demolished to accommodate construction of a four-lane road link to the port.

But both these works had not been completed so far, he said.

He said that Rs.20 crore was allocated later for the construction of a passenger-cum-container terminal at the port and the administrative sanction for the same was given in March 2013.

But the technical sanction for it was still awaited.

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