Vizhinjam port issue: Govt’s promises and protest committee’s objections 

Work site of Vizhinjam International Port project, Thiruvananthapuram | Mathrubhumi photo

Kerala government has claimed that the six appeals of the Vizhinjam port protest committee except demand to stall the port construction, have been settled following discussions. However, the protest committee has alleged that the promises made by the government are impractical. Here are the solutions put forward by the government to settle the issues and the reactions of the protest committee.

Permanent solution for coastal erosion

Government: Assured necessary actions to prevent coastal erosion permanently as per the recommendations of an expert panel.

Protest committee: The expert panel is currently considering the issues only in Muthalapozhi. Though the government promised to protect the coasts using Jio tube in 2019, no action proceeded.


Government: A monthly rent of Rs 5500 will be dispensed to the families who had to leave their homes in view of the Vizhinjam port project. The government has already given away Rs 5500 for the 284 families presently residing in relief camps.

Protest committee: Rs 5500 would be insufficient to pay the rent. The government has to provide houses for rent. As many as 187 families living in godowns are yet to be rehabilitated.

Issues at Muthalapozhi

Government: Central Water and Power Research Station has been given the charge of studying the problems in Muthalapozhi harbour.

Protest committee: The government carried out the Muthalapozhi harbour project even after several alleged that it would be unscientific. This should not repeat in Vizhinjam. The same agency which approved the project proposal in Muthalapozhi has been entrusted for analysing the present situation here. Hence, the natives have no trust in the proposed study.

Kerosene subsidy

Government: The central government has to decide on the subsidy for kerosene. Hence, the decision will be taken only after discussing it with the Centre.

Protest committee: Tamil Nadu government is providing subsidies for kerosene. The Kerala government also should follow this.

Compensation for homeless

Government: Rs 10 lakh will be awarded to the families who lost houses. At least 600 flats will be built in Muttathara and Rs 81 crore has been granted for this. As many as 963 families will get houses via Punargeham project. The construction of a cyclone shelter for the fisherfolk has reached its last phase. The families residing in relief camps can shift to these shelters.

Protest committee: They rejected the proposal for flats and demanded the government to build houses each in three cents of land.

Minimum wages

Government: Minimum wages will be accorded during the period when the fisherfolk cannot go for fishing due to extreme weather condition

Protest committee: Lack of compensation in proportion to the loss. Minimum wages have to be dispensed to the fisherfolk from the day of issue of warning.

Transparent study of Vizhinjam project

Government: The port construction cannot be stalled. An expert committee has been appointed to study the project. Pragmatic problems exist including a representative of the protest committee to be in the expert panel. The findings of the study panel of the protest committee will also be considered.

Protest committee: The study will turn futile if the construction works continue during the study period. This indicates the government’s stance that the project will not be abandoned at any cost.

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