Grace Paul Vallooran

Thiruvananthapuram, 11th December 2022: In just a few days after protests halted, the finance minister of Kerala, K. N Balagopal, said on Saturday that the government is working on building a corridor between the Vizhinjam seaport and Paripally in Kollam. It is to explore the opportunities that would arise after the completion of the controversial seaport, which faces strong opposition from the Latin Catholic Church and locals.

During the inaugural address at the presentation of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) ‘Made in Kerala’ awards 2022, he said that the government expects the development zone in the 60 Km stretch to bring in investments of around Rs 60,000 crores.

The church, in a circular by Archbishop Thomas J Netto, says that the halt in protests is temporary and expresses dissatisfaction with the government’s approach towards the issue. The circular explains why the protest had to be halted to maintain peace and also assures to ascertain the implementation of their demands by the government.

On December 6, the Vizhinjam Protest Council (VPC) announced the temporary wrap-up to their 138-day long protest against the Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd – a Rs 7,525 crore deep-water container transhipment port project by the Adani Group. The fisherfolk who protested had seven main concerns, including proper rehabilitation of the affected, sea erosion and loss of livelihood.

They had come to national attention when the protest turned violent on November 26 and 27, with the police registering cases against more than 3,000 persons, including priests and other clergy. Reconciliatory talks followed, and on December 6, the protests temporarily ceased. On Thursday, December 8, the Adani group resumed work.