Kerala Kaumudi Online
Sunday, 29 January 2023 7.05 PM IST

'Will give priority to fisher folk who helped in times of danger': CM Vijayan praises one person's initiative to end Vizhinjam strike amicably


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday said that the government is giving priority to rehabilitation and protection of livelihoods in development projects. The Chief Minister in his statement as per Rule 300, said that this is the approach of the government in the case of the Vizhinjam port project as well. He stated that the government has ensured this in all development projects so far.

"The state government is taking crucial steps in the field of development. The government is committed to the development of physical and social infrastructure that lays the foundation for Kerala's sustainable economic growth. The government is also stern in implementing development projects with a human face."

"The Vizhinjam International Port Project has the potential to pave the way for a major breakthrough in the economic and commercial aspects of Kerala. Geographical features and suitability for establishing trade links make this port project unique."

"The international shipping lane passes at a distance of 10 nautical miles from Vizhinjam coast. Vizhinjam harbor is characterized by a natural depth of 24 meters up to one nautical mile from the shore. Historically, Vizhinjam also has the distinction of being a port of international renown."

"The construction of Vizhinjam seaport is 80 percent complete. At this juncture, concerns were raised from some quarters and protests were staged at the port area from August 16. The strike committee mainly put forward seven demands. Apart from the demand to stop the construction of the port, the government held open-minded discussions with the strike committee several times. A cabinet sub-committee was appointed for this purpose. From August 19, this cabinet sub-committee held several discussions with the leaders of the strike committee on various dates. In the discussion with the sub-committee, there was an agreement on all other demands except the demand to stop the construction of the port. After the strike did not end, further discussions were held at the Chief Secretary level as well."

"There was an unfortunate situation where the strike turned violent at some points. The state police force deployed to maintain law and order met the situation with utmost restraint. This approach on the part of the police has been very helpful in preventing untoward incidents from going out of control."

"On the basis of discussions with the strike committee, the government issued orders and implemented the proposed solutions to the demands raised by them. The main demands raised by the strike committee were decided in yesterday's high-level discussions and the strike committee was ready to end the strike.", CM Vijayan said.

Then the Chief Minister shared the details of the discussion. In a statement made by the Chief Minister in the Assembly today, he praised the initiative and intervention by Major Cardinal Mar Baselios Cleemis, the major archbishop-catholicos of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, to end the strike amicably. The Chief Minister informed the assembly that the government has taken steps to advance the construction of Vizhinjam port, which is an important project for the development of the country, giving priority to the interests of the fishermen who have risked their lives for the protection of the people in times of danger.

Decisions taken in yesterday's discussion

As per the government order dated 03.11.2020, a district-level committee has been constituted to monitor the rehabilitation activities due to Vizhinjam port construction. This will be supervised by the chief secretary and the port secretary at the state level.

The construction of the flats will be completed in one and a half years. Two months' rent will be paid in advance. As per Government Order dated 01.09.2022 Rs.5,500 will be given per month as rent.

The rehabilitation works are intensive and the total area of the house is 635 Sq.Ft. (550 Sq.Ft. Built up space + 85 Sq. Ft. common space for each unit) without exceeding and discussing the design-related suggestions. Apart from this, a common area will be provided for storing nets and other equipment.

A study committee appointed by the government regarding coastal erosion will hold discussions with expert representatives of fishermen. Port operations will continue.

Conversion of existing kerosene engines to diesel, petrol and gas engines will be implemented soon. One-time subsidy will be given for this.

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