On day 100, Vizhinjam protesters allegedly set fishing boat on fire at sea

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Thiruvananthapuram: The resistance in Vizhinjam against the construction of the sea port took an ugly turn on Thursday after protesters encircled the project area, including at sea, demanding an immediate end to construction work.

Thursday marks the 100th day of the protest. The Vizhinjam Samara Samithi, comprising fisherfolks in the area backed by the Latin church, burnt their boats and threw police barricades into the sea.

Meanwhile, it is reported that a clash erupted between police and protesters in the area. Earlier, several rounds of talks between the Samara Samithi representatives and the state government failed to arrive at a consensus. The government refused to agree to all demands in their seven-point charter, including halting construction.

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

Vizhinjam International Seaport Limited (VISL) received environmental clearance (EC) from the Ministry of Environment and Forest in January 2014, which prescribed the course of action, environmental management, monitoring and reporting during the construction and operation of the port.

The clearance was challenged by various parties and it was upheld by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) with clear directions to the Government of Kerala to proceed with the project.

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