The fear that the Vizhinjam International Container Transshipment terminal project would destroy the ‘Wadge Bank,’ a 3000 sq km area which form rich fishing grounds, is baseless, according to experts who took part in a symposium on the multi-crore port project here on Wednesday.
The east-west international shipping lane is passing through the ‘Wadge Bank,’ and on a daily basis, approximately 100 vessels are already passing over it without affecting it in any way, Deepak Benny, port planning consultant, Singapore, said at a symposium organised by the Trivandrum Development Front.
The observation was made against the backdrop of the fishing community raising the concern that the project would destroy the ‘Wadge Bank’ hitting the livelihood of thousands of families. Fears that the port project will hit fishing activities in other ways are also unfounded, according to him.
‘’The best example is the Kochi Port where fishing activities at Thoppumpady have been co-existing with port-related activities. It is the international law of the seas that fishing activities be given priority over any other vessels,’’
Deepak Benny said.
On the economic viability of the Vizhinjam project, he said that studies have shown that the cumulative cash flows from the project would be to the tune of Rs 28,000 crore over 30 years.
E M Najeeb, president, Confederation of Tourism Industries, said that the confederation supported the project. On the objections made by a small group of resort owners in the area, he said that they had been given sufficient advance warning by the government and many had relocated successfully.
‘’We have no reason to delay the project on that count,’’ Najeeb said. N Appukuttan Pillai, former executive engineer, Harbour Engineering Department, C Radhakrishnan, former additional director, Fisheries Department, were also present.