The unfolding saga of the Adani-promoted Vizhinjam International Seaport and Container Transshipment Terminal near here witnessed an interesting twist of sorts on Monday when leader of an action committee supporting its cause launched an indefinite fast demanding resumption of work on the stalled project.

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Work on the massive project that envisages tens of thousands of crore in investment had come to a standstill from August after a section of fishermen egged on by clergy of the Latin Archdiocese of Thiruvananthapuram went on strike and laid sieged to the port site. They alleged lives and livelihoods were at stake after the breakwater structure triggered massive coastal erosion.

Last resort, says John 
Elias John, President, Vizhinjam Mother Port Action Committee (V-Mac).

Elias John, President, Vizhinjam Mother Port Action Committee (V-Mac).

The indefinite fast is the last resort for people who are concerned over prospects of a large infrastructural project that could potentially change the face of Kerala, Elias John, President of the Vizhinjam Mother Port Action Committee (V-Mac) told BusinessLine before going on fast. A former broadcast journalist himself, John traces his own family roots to the coastal belt around Vizhinjam.

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Earlier on Monday, John met Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and explained the circumstances that led to undertake the fast. He was accompanied by colleagues Wilfred Culas and Prashant David from V-Mac. “There is just no other way for us since the project has been stalled for more than 100 days despite several rounds of conciliatory talks initiated by the State government and interventions by the High Court,” John said.. 

John pointed out how the neighbouring Sri Lanka has wooed the Adanis who are developing the ₹6,000 crore Western Container Terminal in the island nation, slightly less than the investment in Vizhinjam. “We have learnt that Sri Lanka is offering more incentives so the Adanis dump Vizhinjam and direct their future investments to big projects, including Hambantota and the Eastern Container Terminal which were denied to them earlier,” John said. 

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Vizhinjam is at crucial juncture when any investor would feel frustrated and thinks twice over remaining committed to the investment. And Kerala is sending out negative vibes, which it cannot afford to do. “We want instead to signal to both Adani, the State government and even the clergy that state continues to be investment-friendly and there are groups of people even willing to risk their lives to ensure that such projects are safe,” John added. 

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