Thiruvananthapuram: The protests in Kerala against the Vizhinjam port project by the fishing community which were underway for almost 140 days has been called off on Tuesday following hectic deliberations between the protesters and the state government which was also attended by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Speaking to the media after their meeting with Vijayan, spokesperson of Latin Church, Eugiene Perreria said even as their demands were not fully met by the government, the protest has been called off.
The Kerala High Court is likely to take some crucial decisions on Wednesday in connection with the protest against the port project.
“We have got certain assurances from the government and though we have not got all our demands accepted, it has been decided to call off the protest. We will be closely monitoring the upcoming events and at the same time we will be expecting that the government will take a favourable step,” said Perreria.
The major demands put forward by the protesters which includes stopping of the ongoing work at the Vizhinjam port has not been accepted.
Also, another demand, to constitute a special committee — comprising their members to study the environmental damages caused to the locality — was also not accepted.
“We, however, have decided to constitute our own committee which will do their study on the damages and once it’s done, there will be a discussion with the government on our findings also. We also declined to accept a sum from the Adani Ports from their CSR funds… instead, we said we will however accept Rs 5,500 per month for each of the fishermen families who are presently staying on rent from the state government,” added Perreria.
The Kerala Assembly also saw a discussion on this issue when the Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan slammed Vijayan for not discussing with the protesters.
However, Vijayan replied that he held talks with the “top-most person” on this issue and “we did not agree on their demand of stopping work at the port site till the environment impact study takes place”.
Adani Ports began construction of the port on December 5, 2015.
In August, Adani Ports and its contracting partner Howe Engineering Projects, approached the High Court seeking police protection.