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Why Kerala Fisherfolk are Protesting against Adani?

Church Adani port; Fishermen's demonstrations against the ongoing Adani port project at Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, intensified

By Ground report
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Explained: Church Adani transshipment port kerala protest

Fishermen's demonstrations against the ongoing Adani port project at Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, intensified further on Monday when the port was also blocked from the sea. Fishermen have already been laying siege to the port under construction on the land.

They demand rehabilitation and a permanent solution to marine erosion, claiming that hundreds of acres of coastal land were destroyed when construction work began.

Continuing their protests for the seventh day, protesters climbed over barricades and broke the lock on the main gate. In addition, they also held a vehicle protest rally with more than 500 vehicles that started at 9 a.m. and a stir started on the water with boats from the Vizhinjam fishing port.

The protest will not be withdrawn until its seven demands are met. The Kerala government has agreed to hold talks with representatives of the Latin Catholic Church, leading the fishermen's protest.

Protesters were then seen dancing jubilantly after passing through the gates. At the same time, hundreds of fishing boats were also seen circling the port from the sea.

One of the priests from the Latin Archdiocese, who is leading the protest, had said a day ago that although the state government said it would comply with five of their demands, it was only an oral guarantee and they wanted it in writing.

The priest had also said that the construction of the port should be stopped and a study should be carried out on its environmental impact and representatives of the fishermen, experts in the matter, should be consulted.

On Sunday, the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC), an influential church body, declared its full support for coastal residents "who are fighting for their survival and the Latin Archdiocese of Thiruvananthapuram, which is leading their fight." Previously, black flags were raised in churches of the Latin Archdiocese in the state capital.

On Tuesday (Aug 23), Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the Assembly that the protest in some areas seemed "orchestrated". The government, he said, was ready for talks and wanted to resolve the concerns facing the fishing community; however, he could not agree to stop the project.

The biggest demand of the protesters is that the construction of the Rs 7,525 crore deep-water port and trans-shipment container terminal at Vizhinjam, outside Thiruvananthapuram, be halted and a proper environmental impact study carried out.

The community has also presented six other demands: (i) rehabilitation of families who lost their homes due to sea erosion, (ii) effective measures to mitigate coastal erosion, (iii) financial assistance to fishermen on days when issue weather alerts, (iv) compensation to families of those who lose their lives in fishing accidents, (v) subsidized kerosene, and (vi) a mechanism to dredge the Muthalappozhi fishing port in Anchuthengu in Thiruvananthapuram district.

The government has granted all the demands, except to provide a kerosene subsidy and stop the construction of the port. It has been agreed to find accommodation for the relocated families before Onam (which starts at the end of this month).

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