Vizhinjam impasse: Settlement likely soon; Govt, Church may relent

Protestors block movement of granite (rock stone) laden trucks to the Vizhinjam project site in front of the main gate on November 26, 2022. Photo: Manorama.

Thiruvananthapuram: The parleys aimed at ending the ongoing agitation against the Vizhinjam project could be heading to a resolution soon even as a consensus eluded Monday's meeting convened by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the Cabinet sub-committee on Monday. The Left Democratic Front Government and Latin Archdiocese, which is spearheading the agitation, are reportedly relaxing their tough stands. The government may try to break the deadlock as the discussion continues on Tuesday. Discussion on the Vizhinjam issue will be held today at 1 pm in the assembly during an adjournment motion.

The Cabinet sub-committee and the protest front would continue to hold discussions, and if a compromise is reached, further discussions would be conducted in the presence of the Chief Minister and a declaration announcing the agreement would be made.

Another round of discussions has been necessitated as there was no clarity on some of the demands raised by the protest front.

There is a dispute over the demand of the protest front for appointing a committee to study the issue of sea erosion. The front is firm on its demand that fish workers should be included in the committee. Also, there is no clarity yet on the issues such as allotting more amount for the rent for those who have lost their houses. The protest council wants to raise this amount from Rs 5,500 to Rs 8,000. It also wants a repeal of cases registered against those booked for the recent violent incidents.

As of now the government’s stand is that the amount of rent cannot be increased.

The subcommittee consists of Ministers K Rajan, V Sivankutty, Antony Raju, V Abdurahman, and Ahmed Devarkovil. Chief Secretary V P Joy met Archbishop Dr Thomas J Netto and explained to him the stand of the government. Monsignor Eugine H Periera, convener of the Vizhinjam Protest Front, said that the front would hold a meeting today and a decision would be taken on the matter.

As reported earlier a consensus eluded both sides on Monday as they failed to see eye-to-eye on crucial matters. The protesters have sought more time to decide on the government's proposals.

Fisherfolk led by the Latin Church is protesting against the upcoming Adani Port project at the Vizhinjam coast in the southern tip of Kerala. The fishing community blames the port construction activities for worsening sea erosion that has in turn affected their livelihood and wrecked properties along the shore.

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