Kerala HC directs police to ensure law and order at Vizhinjam port site

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Kerala High Court

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Friday directed the state police to ensure law and order at Adani Port's transhipment port project site at Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram district where the fisherfolks are holding protests alleging unscientific construction.

The court, while considering a plea filed by Adani Ports seeking police protection from those protesting against the construction of the port, also issued notice to the protesters.

Considering the matter, the high court directed the police to make sure that law and order is kept intact in the area and posted the matter for Monday for further consideration.

When the matter was taken up, the counsel for the state government informed the court that there was no need for deploying central forces in the area and submitted that necessary steps have been taken at various levels for solving the problem.

The state government also turned down the Central government counsel's offer expressing readiness for CISF security project, if the state government seeks for it.

The Adani Group, in its plea has stated that the ongoing agitation by fishermen was a threat to the life of its employees and the government was not taking any action in this regard despite making representations.

It prayed for a court direction to the state government to provide adequate police security to the project.

Meanwhile, a representative of the Thiruvananthapuram archdiocese of the Latin Catholic Church, which is spearheading the agitation, rejected Adani Port's claim that law and order is affected in the area.

Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, V D Satheesan alleged that there was no difference in the stands taken by the Adani Port and the state government on the protesters' demand.

A large number of fisherfolk have been protesting outside the main entrance of the multi-purpose seaport, located at nearby Mulloor, since last week pressing their seven-point charter of demands including halting the construction work and to conduct a coastal impact study in connection with the multi-crore project.

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.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had recently said that his government was considering providing rented accommodation to rehabilitate the displaced fisherfolk and the District Collector of Thiruvananthapuram has been entrusted with the task which includes fixation of rent.

He also claimed that the state government has launched a Rs 2,450 crore worth project to rehabilitate the fisherfolk displaced due to coastal erosion and CRZ regulations. PTI

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