Halting construction work at Vizhinjam port not possible, Minister tells Assembly

Any further delay due to the strike will put the government at a serious disadvantage, the Minister said in the Assembly.

Published - December 06, 2022 08:14 am IST - Thiruvananthapuram

 Minister for Ports Ahammad Devarkovil reviewing the constriction of the Vizhinjam port in Thiruvananthapuram. File photo

Minister for Ports Ahammad Devarkovil reviewing the constriction of the Vizhinjam port in Thiruvananthapuram. File photo | Photo Credit: PTI

It is impossible to accept the demand of Vizhinjam Action Council (VAC) to stop construction work at the seaport project as the government will have to pay a huge compensation to the construction company for the losses it will suffer, Port Minister Ahammad Devarkovil has said.

The Vizhinjam project, which began on August 17, 2015, was scheduled to be completed by December 3, 2019. However, the project suffered repeated delays. The company had already sought compensation from the arbitration council for the losses it has been suffering due to the lost man days.

Any further delay due to the strike will put the government at a serious disadvantage, the Minister said in the Assembly on Monday, while replying to a calling attention motion by Kadakampally Surendran.

The State government has implemented ₹100 crore rehabilitation package for all fisherfolk who might be affected by the project fully or partially and lose their livelihood.

Following the Okhi disaster, the government had rehabilitated 144 fishermen in apartment complexes. To rehabilitate the remaining fisherfolk, the government has now given administrative sanction for the construction of apartment complexes in an eight-acre plot at Muttathara.

Till the flat construction is completed, the government has decided to pay a monthly sum of ₹5,500 as rent to the fishermen.

Accepting the demand of the fisherfolk, the government has now enhanced this amount to ₹8,000, by collecting ₹2,500 from the CSR funds of the construction company, Mr. Devarkovil said.

‘No depletion of coast’

Though the Union Ministry of Environment had ruled out possibility of depletion of the coast, following complaints, two expert committees set up by the National Green Tribunal had studied the issue. The committees also reported that the project will not lead to any depletion in coastline.

The coastal depletion that is currently being experienced is the fall out of climate change, a global phenomenon and the many cyclones in the Arabian sea

Yet, to allay apprehensions, the government had issued orders on October 6 that an expert committee under Dr. M. D. Kudale, former Additional Director of Central Water and Power Research Station (CWPRS), study the seaport project and report on coastal depletion and suggest remedies if any.

Key discussions

The government has directed that the final report be submitted only after discussions with those who might be displaced by the project and to include suggestions to allay their fears.

Mr. Devarkovil said that the CWPRS has been asked to study the construction of the Muthalapozhi fishing harbour and suggest necessary rectifications.

Mr. Devarkovil said that the VAC’s demand that the government give compensation to fishermen for days they are unable to go fishing because of adverse weather forecasts would be a huge financial burden for the government. As the Fisheries department’s budgetary allocation would be nowhere near enough to pay compensation, the government has now asked the Planning Board to look into the demand, he said.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.