THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Assembly on Tuesday decided to discuss the Vizhinjam seaport issue and the ongoing agitation being staged by the local fishermen community against it. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan agreed to the adjournment motion raised by Kovalam Congress MLA, M Vincent. The discussion is expected to take place at 1 pm for two hours.
The government acceded to the opposition's demand for discussion ahead of the crucial meeting between the protest council and a cabinet sub-committee.
The protest council led by the Latin Church held a discussion on the compromise formula mooted by the chief secretary VP Joy on Tuesday morning.
The council will focus on the rehabilitation parts while making some compromises on the demand for stopping the construction work of the Vizhinjam International Seaport by the Adani Group. The move comes as the protest reached its 139th day and was marred by violent incidents.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan held talks with cabinet colleagues over the recent mediatory talks he had with Cardinal Mar Baselios Cleemis, on Monday. He will be directly talking to the protest council after the cabinet sub-committee holds talks with the council.
The council demanded clarity over the government's contribution to shifting people living in camps to rented accommodation and the inclusion of a coastal representative in the expert team to study the impact of the construction of the port.
The government had earlier fixed Rs 5500 as an aid for a family to be shifted to rented accommodation. However, the council alleged that the money was too low. Though the government agreed to raise it to Rs 8000 by using the CSR (corporate social responsibility) fund of Adani Group to fill the gap, the council raised an objection. They wanted the government to bear the entire money.
Both sides agreed to negotiate after the protest turned violent on November 26 and 27. Though Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had categorically stated earlier that it won't backtrack on the seaport project, the weekend saw the resumption of the conciliatory talks, with Netto holding a discussion with Chief Secretary V P Joy on Saturday.
Cardinal Mar Baselios Cleemis too called on the CM on the day. The Latin Church through a pastoral letter issued by Archbishop Thomas J Netto clarified that it had only demanded to temporarily halt the work to conduct the impact study.
The CPM’s secretary in Thiruvananthapuram Anavoor Nagappan called on the Latin Archbishop ahead of the LDF march to give a political explanation on the importance of the project, from Varkala to Vizhinjam on Wednesday.
The government has also indicated that it will slow pedal on the cases charged against the protestors in connection with the violence. The ports minister Ahamed Devarkovil informed the assembly that the government had taken a practical approach to the demands of the protestors. Earlier he spoke against inviting central security forces to be deployed at Vizhinjam.