A fortnight of protests over a rehabilitation package that had stalled the progress of the first phase of Adani Group’s Rs 7,525-crore Vizhinjam seaport came to a halt on Friday. Following dispute-redressal initiatives by the Kerala government, the protesting fishermen have agreed to call off their agitation, which led to construction activities slowing down considerably. “The state government has assured that the compensation claims for those displaced from their dwellings due to the port project will be settled before November 30,” Thiruvananthapuram district collector K Vasuki, who led the talks, said.
The Vizhinjam port site is about 10 miles southwest of Thiruvananthapuram. It is roughly 175 nautical miles from Sri Lanka’s Colombo Port, which currently enjoys the lion’s share of Indian trans-shipment cargo. Stoppage of work had cost Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) $1.2 million per day. APSEZ, which is part of Ahmedabad-based Adani Group, has made a contractual commitment to complete the Phase I of the project within 1,000 days of the commencement of work. More than one-third of the time had lapsed, making any kind of delay expensive for the promoters.
The protesters have demanded hike in compensation and have expressed concerns about the piling activity at the construction site that is creating disruption of the lives of the local residents. “These demands will be discussed at the ministerial level and a decision will be conveyed at the earliest,” Vasuki has assured.
“After the talks, we are fairly satisfied with the results,” says A Vincent, MLA representing Kovalam constituency, who was the spokesperson for the protesting local communities.