The protests by fishermen in Vizhinjam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, against the ongoing Adani port project grew more intense on Monday when the facility’s access to the sea was also cut off. Fishermen have already been occupying the on-land port that is still under development.
They claim that hundreds of acres of coastal land were lost when the building work began and are calling for rehabilitation as well as a long-term fix for sea erosion.
The construction of groynes and accompanying dredging for the Rs 7,525 crore Vizhinjam Adani port, which started in 2015, are alleged by activists to have obstructed the regular movement of sand over the ocean floor, which results in a balanced accretion-erosion cycle. Protesters want restoration and a long-term answer to the problem of sea erosion.
Six additional demands have been made by the community: (i) the rehabilitation of families whose homes were lost to sea erosion; (ii) effective measures to reduce coastal erosion; (iii) financial assistance for fishermen on days when weather warnings are issued; (iv) compensation for the families of fishermen who lose their lives in accidents at sea; (v) subsidised kerosene; and (vi) a method for dredging the Muthalappozhi fishing harbour in Anchuthengu.
The demonstrators persisted with their demonstrations for a seventh day, scaling barriers and rupturing the main gate’s lock. Additionally, they organised a rally of about 500 vehicles in support of the protests, which started at 9 am, and they flagged off a boat-led agitation on the water from the Vizhinjam fishing harbour.
Until their seven requests are fulfilled, the demonstration will not end.
The representatives of the Latin Catholic Church, which is leading the fishermen’s protest, have been invited to a meeting with the Keralan administration.
Two transhipment ports are being built by Adani Ports in Vizhinjam, Kerala, and Colombo, Sri Lanka.