Kerala CM Makes Statement on Vizhinjam in Assembly; Says Rehabilitation Top Priory

A day after months of protests broke out against the under-construction Vizhinjam sea port, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday said rehabilitation of local people and protection of their livelihood while implementing development projects is his government’s topmost priority. is priority.

The Left government has given this assurance in all development projects and the approach is the same in the case of Vizhinjam port, he said in a statement made under Rule 300 in the Assembly.

Noting that the government is committed to the development of the state’s infrastructure, which lays the foundation for Kerala’s sustainable economic development, he said it is also particular about the fact that projects should be implemented with a humanitarian approach.

He said the protest committee had decided to call off the strike during a high-level talks held here on Tuesday.

The CM also informed the House about the demands raised by the agitators and the decisions taken on them.

“The construction of flats (for rehabilitation of fishermen) will be completed within a year and a half. Two months rent has to be paid in advance. According to the mandate of September 1, 2022, a monthly rent of Rs 5500 will be given.

Assuring that rehabilitation initiatives would be expedited, Vijayan said the design of the houses being constructed would be discussed. A special space will be provided for maintenance of fishing nets and other livelihood equipment of the community.

With respect to Vizhinjam port, operations will continue and a government-appointed panel to study coastal erosion will soon hold discussions with expert representatives of fishermen.

Conversion of existing kerosene engines (of fishing boats) to diesel, petrol and gas engines will be implemented soon and one time subsidy will be provided for the same.

He said that keeping in view the loss of employment during the days prevented from going to sea by the Disaster Management Authority, steps would be taken to provide compensation to the fishermen in the list of fisheries department.

The chief minister said the fisheries department would hold talks with the Pune Central Water and Power Research Station (CWPRS) and representatives of fishermen within two weeks to resolve the issues at Muthalapozhi, where several fishing accidents have occurred in recent years.

Vijayan also specially thanked Archbishop-Catholic Baselios Clemis, head of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, for his efforts to resolve the impasse on the Vizhinjam issue.

The fishermen’s over 130-day protest against the under-construction Vizhinjam sea port was called off on Tuesday following discussions between the leaders of the agitation and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The withdrawal of the agitation was announced by Vicar General Eugene Pereira, who has been at the forefront of the protests.

A large number of fishermen were protesting outside the main entrance of the multi-purpose port at nearby Mullur for more than four months. They attacked the Vizhinjam police station on the night of 27 November, injuring several policemen.

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