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Vizhinjam port project may be delayed indefinitely
Dr.G.R.Balakrishnan Aug 23 2022 Indian Ports News

Vizhinjam port project may be delayed indefinitely

Construction schedule of the Vizhinjam transshipment terminal may go haywire as the Kerala government has failed to convince the agitating fishermen to give up their protests against the project. Work on the construction of the terminal has come to a standstill for the past one week as the fishermen from neighboring villages have blockaded the area.

According to the Original schedule the first vessel carrying equipment for works can berth here by March 2023 and the 400-meter berth would be readied by May 2023, if there are no major issues in the course of the work,” said officials close to the port developer was quoted by local media reports

Adani group which is constructing the port have stopped all the civil works for they do not want  confrontation with the local community. The state government is however persuading them to resume work.

 All the issues raised by the protesters were supposed to be addressed by the State government and not by the port developer according to a port official.

Hardly fifty per cent of the breakwater construction and capital dredging work in the port project has been completed so far. Berth construction could start only after completion of these works said the  official

A spokesman of the Kerala government however maintained that no major construction work takes place in the coast during the south west monsoon period between June and September. Hence the fishermen agitation is not bound to affect the project schedule. The present disruption will not cause any delay in the first phase of commissioning. 

The port had earlier decided to allow ships only after completing an 800-meter-long berthing facility at the port. But now we have decided to commission the first phase on completion of 400-meter berth as almost all the big container vessels are 400 meters long, the official was quoted by local newspapers.

Work on the port project commenced way back in 2015. An ambitious schedule was set by the Adanis to complete the first phase of the project in one thousand days. It should have been completed before 2018. Series of cyclones which hit the project site had washed away major part of the breakwaters when they were being constructed. Stones used for building breakwaters were in short supply and they were being procured from neighboring Tamil Nadu. Now the fishermen backed by the church are opposed to the project saying their livelihood is affected due to sea erosion because of the project.

The church backed fishermen sabotaged a similar project in neighboring Tamil Nadu at Colachel. The project cleared by the Union cabinet way back in 2016 is hanging in balance. The shipping ministry is yet to declare whether the project is alive or dead.