VIZHINJAM:Standing on the beach, several metres away from a floating pipeline which is spewing out ash-coloured mud, Kumar holds up a big conch. “See, it’s cracked on one side. It must have been caught in the dredging machinery,” he says.
Kumar, a local resident, is among the hundreds of visitors who have been thronging the beach at Mulloor, Vizhinjam, to watch the dredging in progress for the multi-crore Vizhinjam seaport project. The work began a few days ago, and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is set to inaugurate the Port’s construction formally on Saturday at nearby Mukkola.
On Monday and Tuesday, visitors could be seen competing with each other to collect the beautifully-formed conches and shells that had been coughed out along with the dredged-up mud.
“In fact, the bigger conches were being sold at `100 and `120 apiece,” said Renjith, a local resident. A portion of the beach, facing the dredging zone, has been cordoned off with warnings signs stating ‘Men at Work’ and ‘Danger,’ said A S Suresh Babu, CEO of state government’s Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd (VISL). But that has done little to dissuade the visitors.
To one side, a group of children could even be seen bathing in the silty water.
The port will be built ‘in less than 1,000 days’, it was the promise made by Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani while signing the concession agreement with Kerala Government on August 17 this year.
At 4.30 pm on Saturday, the Chief Minister will inaugurate the construction. Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari will be the chief guest, and Gautam Adani will deliver the keynote address.