The Latin Catholic Church in Kerala said it would oppose the Rs 7,500 crore Vizhinjam deep sea port project as it would adversely impact livelihood of over 50,000 fishermen in 32 coastal villages. In a Pastoral letter read out in the churches of the diocese in the district, it was stated that the project would be stalled if the government went ahead with it as per the current plan which, the letter claimed, would pose a threat to environment and rob fishermen of their livelihood.
The protest by the Church comes at a time when the state government is set to sign construction agreement with Adani Port on August 17. In the pastoral letter, read out during the Sunday mass, Archbishop Soosa Pakiam said the church had decided to give the call for protest in the wake of government’s “negative” attitude in not announcing the rehabilitation package for fishermen whose occupation and habitation would be affected when the project becomes a reality.
Government has failed to remove the apprehensions of the coastal people, the letter said. Nearly 32 coastal villages with more than 50,000 fishermen would be affected when the port becomes operational, he said. The government decided to award the project contract to the Gujarat-based Adani group last month, overruling stiff political opposition from CPI-M-led LDF.
The construction work of the long-pending project is slated to commence on November 1, the state’s formation day. The project was first proposed in 1991 but did not materialise due to various reasons. It got a push after the present UDF government came to power in 2011. LDF had objected to implementing the project in private sector and had levelled allegations of corruption in the deal.
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