Vizhinjam protests: Ministerial meeting sees no agreement; discussion to continue tomorrow

Fisherfolk gather at Vizhinjam for the 100th day of protest. Photo: Manoj Chemancheri/Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: The meeting convened by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the Cabinet sub-committee to discuss the ongoing anti-seaport strike at Vizhinjam failed to reach a consensus on Monday. 

The stakeholders failed to see eye-to-eye on the strike committee's demand to include local experts in the group to study coastal erosion in the area, and on the issue of the increase in rent.

The strike committee has sought more time to decide on the government's proposals. Hence, the discussion will continue on Tuesday.

The LDF government is trying its best to break the deadlock in the progress of the Vizhinjam project on account of the ongoing agitation against it.

CPM District Secretary Anavoor Nagappan met with Latin Archdiocese Archbishop Dr Thomas J Netto for half an hour on Sunday. Father Eugene H Perera, the general convenor of the protestors' panel also participated in the meeting.

Reflecting a softening stance, a circular was read out in the parishes on Sunday stating that the Church did not demand the permanent suspension of the Vizhinjam project.

The government's move to fast-forward talks comes as the opposition is expected to raise in the Assembly the recent violent protests in connection with the Vizhinjam seaport construction and the actions of the State government on it.

Around 40 police personnel were injured in the Vizhinjam police station attack in which 3,000 protesters took part on November 27 after which Adani moved the high court seeking protection from central forces.

The state government had told the court that cases were registered against numerous persons, including a bishop, with regard to the violence and five persons were arrested.

It had also said that steps would be taken to recover the loss suffered due to the violent protests over the Vizhinjam seaport construction from the protesters.

A large number of people have been staging protests outside the main entrance of the multi-purpose seaport at nearby Mulloor for a few months.

They have been pressing for their seven-point charter of demands that include stopping 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 as part of the upcoming port at Vizhinjam, was one of the reasons for increasing coastal erosion in the area.

The fisherfolk have been staging protests under the aegis of Latin Church priests.  

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