Protesting fisherfolk force their way into Vizhinjam port site; tension prevails


Tension prevailed in the Vizhinjam port area on Friday as hundreds of fisherfolk mainly women from the nearby coastal hamlets pushed their way into the under construction port site demanding the authorities to address their long-pending demands regarding livelihood issues.

Large number of coastal people have been staging an intense protest outside the main entrance of the multi-purpose seaport, located at nearby Mulloor, for the last four days pressing their seven-point charter of demands including to stop the construction work and to conduct a coastal impact study in connection with the multi-crore project.

Intensifying their agitation, the protesters took out a march this morning and pushed their way inside the project site and raised slogans against the government and the port authorities alleging that the unscientific construction activities were the cause of increasing coastal erosion in the region.

A group of protesters knocked down the barricades and entered the port site but the police and the priests of the Latin Archdiocese, who led the protest, tried to calm them down and brought them back to the protest venue at the entrance.

Coastal community members from four nearby hamlets including Adimalathura and Pallam were the ones who staged the protest on Friday.

The fisherfolk intensified their agitation even as talks between the government and representatives of the Latin Archdiocese were scheduled to happen later today.

On Tuesday, the state government, in an attempt to placate the protestors, had said that steps are being taken to allocate land for construction of flats to rehabilitate those fisherfolk who lost homes to the sea.

The government had also expressed its willingness to hold talks with the fisherfolk to discuss their demands.

However, these conciliatory efforts have not proved sufficient to convince the fisherfolk to withdraw the protests outside the ports main entrance.

The protesters have been alleging that the unscientific construction of groynes, the artificial sea walls known as “pulimutt in local parlance, as part of the upcoming Vizhinjam port was one of the reasons for the increasing coastal erosion in the district.

Last week, hundreds of fisherfolk had taken out a massive protest rally in the state capital and laid siege to the Secretariat here with boats and fishing nets, alleging that the Left government was neglecting their demands.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)