Fisherfolk’s demands must be met, Vizhinjam port can’t be scrapped: Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor meets Cardinal Mar George Alencherry.
Shashi Tharoor meets Cardinal Mar George Alencherry. Photo: Manorama

Shashi Tharoor, MP, on Monday reiterated that all the demands raised by the fisherfolk protesting in Vizhinjam except the one to abandon the seaport project there were fair. The Thiruvananthapuram MP, who has always supported the Vizhinjam seaport project, accused the state government of not addressing their concerns. He stood firm on his stance that the Vizhinjam port project will be beneficial for the economy of the state and the country.

Tharoor was speaking to reporters after a breakfast meeting with Cardinal Mar George Alencherry. He said he did not discuss the Vizhinjam issue with the top clergyman. The Cardinal received Tharoor at the St Thomas Mount at Kakkanad with a shawl.

"Everybody wishes peace prevails in Vizhinjam. For that both the parties should be ready for compromises. I had met the archbishop and the bishop (of Latin Catholic Church) and then the chief minister before the agitation started at Vizhinjam. An MP has limitations in interfering in such a matter. It is the state or central government with powers which can do something. It's a fact that the government has not met the protesters' fair demands," he said.

"The people should understand the hardships faced by he fisherfolk. It's wrong to brand them as anti-development and anti-nationals. They have saved 65,000 during the floods risking their own lives. They have a right to ask what did we do for them. Most of them belong to the below poverty line. It's the government's duty to understand their demands and help them with compassion. The government can't be blamed for the cyclones. But we can't say that the government has done what it was supposed to do," Tharoor said.

Asked about writer T Padmanabhan's open request to KPCC president K Sudhakaran to stand with Tharoor who has the support of the youth in the state, Tharoor said he came to know about it only through media. On NCP state chief P C Chacko inviting him to the party, Tharoor said there was no discussion on the matter between the two. 

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