Even as the fishing community intensified the protest against the construction of the Vizhinjam international seaport, the Kerala government has decided to restart the construction of the breakwater in September itself. The main demand of the fishermen was to stop the construction of the breakwater associated with the port work as it aggravated the sea erosion along the coastal areas of Thiruvananthapuram.
Minister’s review meeting
A monthly review meeting to assess the progress of the Vizhinjam port construction chaired by Ports Minister Ahamed Devarkovil on Wednesday decided to resume the construction of the breakwater, which is currently suspended due to monsoon, by September and to procure the maximum amount of rock required for the completion of the work during this period.
The meeting also looked into issues related to the availability of rock for the next season. The construction company was instructed to ensure the availability of rock through more quarries. It was also decided to complete the project on time to ensure more employment opportunities for the residents of the area along with devising projects for the general development of the state.
Resolving reasonable demands
Although most of the demands raised by striking fishermen are not directly related to Vizhinjam port, it was also agreed in the meeting to coordinate activities at the department level to find a solution to the reasonable demands of fishermen. The district administration has called the leaders of striking fishermen for a discussion.
Meanwhile, the day-night protest launched by the fishermen under the aegis of the Latin archdiocese, Thiruvananthapuram entered the second day on Wednesday with protesters blocking the main entrance of the port. The protest also disrupted the constriction work at the site for the second consecutive day. In the meantime, as part of an effort to find a solution to the issue, Shashi Tharoor MP met Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the morning.
Soon after the meeting, Mr. Tharoor tweeted that the Chief Minister was sympathetic and receptive to the demands of fishermen like adequate compensation and rehabilitation for those affected in coastal areas, and an expert study of coastal erosion.