THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Ahead of the Assembly polls, the Latin Archdiocese of Thiruvananthapuram has reiterated its concerns regarding the multi-crore Vizhinjam seaport project, on which the Adani Group started work more than a 100 days ago. The project, Archbishop M Soosapakiam said on Tuesday, continues to remain a ‘’mystery.’’
‘’It remains a mystery to this date. I can’t fully understand it. When we ask the company officials, they say the project would not create any problems. But the fact is, we can’t scientifically say whether it is good or bad,’’ Soosapakiam said. More than 50,000 fishermen stand to be directly or indirectly affected by the Rs 7,525-crore project, Soosapakiam said.
The Archdiocese’s concerns have come at a time when the state government is yet to finalise a decision on the rehabilitation/compensation packages on 18,000 applications filed before the livelihood impact assessment committee formed for the purpose. The port project, whose Phase I is expected to be completed in 2018, has already triggered concerns among the fishermen community, and Soosapakiam said that the church had conveyed its reservations to the state government.
The church, he said, did not choose to project itself as anti-development, but the fact remained that it is difficult to ascertain the actual impact of the project. The Archbishop also pointed out that only a fraction of the local population would succeed in landing jobs at the project, despite assurances regarding employment opportunity.
‘’Vizhinjam project is being presented as a miracle. But how many jobs would materialise remains mired in uncertainty. Only a small fraction would get jobs,’’ he said. The church, he added, is concerned about the impact the project would have on the livelihood of nearly 50,000 fishermen in the coastal belt of Thiruvananthapuram.
The Kerala government had signed the concession agreement for the project with the Adani Group on August 17, last year. The group, which has formed the Adani Vizhinjam Port Pvt Ltd, launched the work on December 5.