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September 30, 2023

After Ignoring the Uproar of Fishermen in Kanyakumari, Rahul Gandhi Meets Vizhinjam Port Protestors, Today

By Aakanksha Nigam

Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra reached Kerela and will be interacting with the fishermen protesting against Vizhinjam port.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and scores of party workers began the 3,570-km campaign from Kanyakumari to Kashmir on September 7th, 2022.

The Congress party alleges that the motive of the yatra is to combat the divisive politics of the BJP-led Centre and to awaken the people of the country to the dangers of economic inequalities, social polarisation and political centralisation.

Rahul Gandhi will be interacting with the fishermen in  Thiruvananthapuram who are protesting against Vizhinjam port and also with the leaders of the anti-K Rail Movement and other such organizations in the state.

The protest of the fishing community under the leadership of the Catholic Archdiocese of Thiruvananthapuram, against the construction of the Adani Group’s Vizhinjam International Transhipment Deepwater Multipurpose Seaport in Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram, continues with fisherfolk laying siege to the port from the sea and land.

Demonstrators refused to stop protesting until their demands were met.

The biggest demand is to stop the construction of the Rs 7,525-crore deepwater port and container transhipment terminal at Vizhinjam and to conduct a proper environmental impact study. 

Other demands include: 

  • Rehabilitation of families whose homes were destroyed by sea erosion,
  • effective measures to stop coastal erosion,
  • financial support for fishermen on days when weather warnings are issued,
  • compensation for the families of fishermen who perish in accidents,
  • subsidised kerosene and
  • a system to dredge the Muthalappozhi fishing harbour in Anchuthengu in the Thiruvananthapuram district.

The government has given in to all demands, with the exception of subsidizing kerosene and stopping the port’s construction. The government has also agreed to help families who are relocating find housing.

Rahul Gandhi will be interacting with the fishermen protesting at Vizhinjam to stand up against the RSS-BJP-led government, who, he alleged, treats ‘Triranga’ as their personal property and is working to divide the country.

Despite the fact that Rahul Gandhi began his yatra in the fishermen’s predominant region of Kanyakumari, the fishermen’s leaders said that Congress officials neglected them. After the commotion, Rahul Gandhi interacted with a small gathering of fishermen.

The Bharat Jodo Yatra began in Kanyakumari which is mainly populated by fishermen and is also witnessing a steep fall in marine biodiversity but the ‘Padyatris’ paid no heed until there was an uproar. 

The wadge bank that is situated in the southwest direction of the coastline of the Kanyakumari district is also being affected by the continuous dredging work to build a shipping channel at the Vizhinjam International Seaport.

Pollution from the noise and turbidity rise has decreased water quality, and the dredging itself is destroying the reefs, thus destroying an entire ecosystem where fish thrive and breed.

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