Kerala HC orders removal of tents at Vizhinjam protest site

Kerala High Court. Photo: E V Sreekumar.

The Kerala High Court on Friday asked the state government to remove the tents at the protest site in front of the entrance of the under-construction Vizhinjam Port. The Kerala Government informed the court that it has issued a notice to the protestors regarding the same.

The Adani Port, which moved a contempt of court petition before the court, said a shed erected by the protestors was still in place and alleged that there are obstructions in front of the entrance. They had also requested for police security.

Earlier on August 29, the state High Court had said that the construction at the Vizhinjam Port cannot be halted and any complaints with regard to the project can be raised at appropriate forums.

The court had said that the agitation must not affect the ongoing project.

The Adani Ports, which is constructing the Vizhinjam port in Thiruvananthapuram had on August 25, moved the Kerala High Court seeking protection from protesters.

Fishermen protest at Vizhinjam on Aug 22, 2022. Photo: Manorama

The Adani Group, in its plea said the ongoing agitation was a threat to the life of its employees and the police and the government were not taking any action in this regard.

The company had also told the court that even though it had approached the government seeking protection, no steps were initiated.

A large number of coastal people have been staging an intense protest outside the main entrance of the multi-purpose seaport, located at nearby Mulloor, since last week pressing their seven-point charter of demands including to stop the construction work and to conduct a coastal impact study in connection with the multi-crore project.

The protesters have been alleging that the unscientific construction of groynes, the artificial sea walls known as "pulimutt' in local parlance, as part of the upcoming Vizhinjam port was one of the reasons for the increasing coastal erosion in the district.

Meanwhile, the Kerala Government has met one of the most important demands put forward by the coastal community, a day after the women took over the anti-Vizhinjam Port struggle from the men.

An order was issued on October 6 constituting a four-member Expert Committee to study the impact of the port construction on the coast. The Committee will be chaired by M D Kudale, former additional director, Central Water and Power Research Station, Pune. The other members of the EC are: Riji John, Vice Chancellor, Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies, Kochi; Tejal Kanitkar, associate professor, School of Natural Sciences and Engineering, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; and P K Chandramohan, former chief engineer, Kandla Port Trust.

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