KOCHI: It appears that the last-minute effort by the Adani Group to pacify the Latin Church on the issues over Vizhinjam port went in vain. Archbishop of Thiruvananthapuram Archdiocese Susapakiam rejected a request by Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani for a meeting with the prelate to discuss the Vizhinjam project.
Adani Group is to sign an agreement with the state government on Monday for developing Vizhinjam project. Adani Vizhinjam Port Private Limited chief executive officer Santhosh Kumar Mohapatra along with Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson visited Archbishop Susapakiam on Friday morning, seeking an appointment for Gautam Adani on Sunday. But the Archbishop rejected the request.
According to sources, the church is of the stand that it need not hold talks with a private partner in the project as the issues and apprehensions raised by them have to be addressed by the government. The Latin Catholic Church, through a pastoral letter, had revealed its stand that it would oppose the `7,500 crore Vizhinjam deep sea port project as it would adversely impact the livelihood of over 50,000 fishermen in 32 coastal villages.
Supporting the Archbishop’s decision not to hold any talk with a private partner in the project, Kerala Latin Catholic Association (KLCA) state president and Kerala Regional Latin Catholic Council (KRLCC) vice-president Shaji George said the government should announce a rehabilitation package for fishermen and it should be implemented in a transparent manner.
“The church is not against Vizhinjam port project, but we definitely have concern over the fishermen. Now or in future, this issue has to be addressed by the government, not by the private partner of the project. That is the reason for the Archbishop to reject the request for appointment,” Shaji George said.