THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Signalling a thaw in the strained relationship between the state government and the Latin Catholic Church, the Vizhinjam parish has said it will attend Sunday’s official function to welcome the first ship arriving at the seaport.
The parish vicar said the decision was taken in appreciation of the state government’s “favourable position on our demands”.
“We had a meeting with Fisheries Minister Saji Cherian at his office this morning. The district collector and other government officials were present. The minister assured us that all our demands would be met and implemented in a time-bound manner. As a gesture of goodwill, the government has sanctioned 2.22 crore as compensation for traditional country boat fishermen whose livelihoods were disrupted by the port project,” Fr T Nicholas told TNIE on Friday.
Asked about the Latin archdiocese’s decision to boycott the programme, Fr Nicholas said “We don’t know about the archdiocese’s decision. The Vizhinjam parish council has taken the decision as we feel that the government has taken a favourable position.
The parish has also decided to withdraw the earlier decision to observe October 15 as ‘Black Day’.”
Hike in fishers’ compensation
The government has increased the compensation for traditional fishermen who have lost their livelihood because of the port from Rs 82,440 to Rs 4.20 lakh. A total of 53 fishermen will get Rs 4.20 lakh each.
A committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of the district collector to find a solution to other demands of the fisherfolk. Meetings will be held with concerned ministers to solve issues like the availability of kerosene, the Life project and drinking water issues.
DIVYA S IYER IS NEW MD OF VIZHINJAM PORT
T’Puram: The state government has appointed Divya S Iyer, who is currently the district collector of Pathanamthitta, as the managing director of Vizhinjam seaport. She will replace Adeela Abdulla.