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Vizhinjam port action council to step up protest

Friday, 19 February 2016 | 00:00

The members of Vizhinjam Seaport Action Council, under the aegis of Thiruvananthapuram archdiocese of Latin Catholic church, will conduct a march to Legislative Assembly on Monday in protest against discrimination of fishermen community by government, especially towards those who are losing livelihood when Vizhinjam port is realized.

The decision to conduct protest was taken in a meeting of representatives of the Vizhinjam Seaport Action Council led by vicar general Eugene H Pereira held at Bishop House in Vellayambalam on Wednesday.

According to Eugene H Pereira, vicar general of Thiruvananthapuram, the march is an attempt to bring to the attention of the government the plight of the fishermen community.

The council members had met chief minister Oommen Chandy and minister for fisheries, ports and excise K Babu and presented their demands, but no satisfactory answer was received which led them to organize a protest. “In the meeting, chief minister said that the Rs 2,000 crore projects mentioned in the state budget are also for the benefit of the fishermen community. But we want the government to consider our demands and implement the promises made through a package declared by government earlier,” said Eugene H Pereira.

The government had declared a package worth Rs 450 crore in an order dated November 11 in 2015 for rehabilitation of fishermen who surrendered their land for the Vizhinjam project. As per the package, rehabilitation for an amount of Rs 50 crore should be completed by March 2016 and an allocation of Rs 120 crore for rehabilitation of fishermen community should be made in the state budget 2016-17. “Both are yet to be fulfilled. No amount has been spent for the rehabilitation of fishermen and the state budget did not mention any amount particularly for the package,” said Pereira.

They allege that the amount allocated in the state budget is for the welfare of fishermen state wide and did not mention the package.

“From the total 450 fishermen, who were included in the rehabilitation package and promised title deeds only 33 have been issued title deeds so far. The given title deeds are also conditional,” added Pareira.

The meeting was attended by representatives from Swathantra Matsya Thozhilali Federation and Vizhinjam parish.
Source: TNN

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