Councillors of the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation wards in the Vizhinjam seaport project will meet the Ports Minister K Babu on Monday to convey their fears over the alleged attempts by the ‘hotel-resort lobby’ to sabotage the multi-crore project.
The councillors said they feared that if the Ombudsman of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), who held a series of hearings over the last week, tables a negative report, the entire project could be delayed by at least another year.
‘’Most of the stakeholders whom the IFC Ombudsman met over last week informed him of the necessity of the project. But we fear that a negative report from the Ombudsman’s side could delay the project, especially if the IFC pulls back,’’ Gladys Alex, who represents Vizhinjam in the council, said.
Councillors of four corporation wards - Vizhinjam, Mulloor, Harbour and Kottapuram - have been campaigning against what they termed attempts by the hotel lobby to scuttle the ambitious project. They even undertook a 24-hour hunger strike to strike home their point, in addition to meeting the IFC Ombudsman Scott Adams.
Earlier, the councillors had also written to the IFC and the IFC Ombudsman alleging that the people opposing the project did not belong to the region, and were outsiders.
The Vizhinjam international container transshipment terminal project is in the eye of a controversy after a group, mostly resort owners in the region, complained to the IFC that the project would destroy tourism and fisheries in the coastal belt. It was after this that the IFC Ombudsman came down to Thiruvananthapuram to meet various stakeholders, including government officials and the Minister.