The National Green Tribunal has virtually given the go-ahead for the proposed mega port at Vizhinjam, to be built and run by the Adani group, setting aside appeals by local fisher folk and environmentalists. Here’s a closer look at what’s at stake at Vizhinjam, and why many consider it another developmental disaster in the making.
NGT refuses to cancel green nod to Adani’s Vizhinjam port in Kerala
The Indian Express
The National Green Tribunal today refused to quash the environment clearance granted to the Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd, being developed by Adani Group in Thiruvananthapuram. A bench comprising NGT Chairman Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice R S Rathore, however, constituted an expert committee of seven members to look into compliance of conditions of environmental and Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance. (VIEW/DOWNLOAD: Full text of NGT judgement)
M. Suchitra, Down to Earth
Despite warnings, the Kerala government has decided to go ahead with the construction of Vizhinjam seaport which, according to marine experts, would be an ecological disaster. The international container transshipment terminal, highlighted as a dream project that would bring huge investments, would not contribute to economic development of the state either, say finance experts. The proposed port site is just 250 metres south of the ever-busy Vizhinjam fishing harbour. This would spell doom for the booming fishing industry and the marine biodiversity of the region. Over 20,000 fisher families live in 11 villages close to the site. Fishers say they will lose their means of livelihood if the government goes ahead with the ambitious project. Marine experts warn the port would damage the ecologically fragile coastal belt of southern Kerala, hurt the marine fauna and flora, change the shoreline and erode the popular Kovalam beach north of the project site.
Who Compliments Whom? The Fall Out Of Vizhinjam Port
Land worth 600 crore will be transferred To Adani. Two ancient hills of Southern Western Ghats will be quarried and dumped in sea. Road widening alone will axe 10,000 trees. The first phase of cutting has started and more than 200 trees lie on the ground. The project will directly impact the lives and livelihood of 50,000 villagers in 32 coastal villages. The famed Cape Comarine Wadge Bank will be destroyed Nascent but diverse coral outcrops will go extinct.
Video Evidence Of Environmental Disaster Underway In Vizhinjam
Joseph Vijayan, Countercurrents.org
Here are two videos that show the enviromental destruction caused by dredging for the Vizhinjam Transit Harbour Project! One shot on January 2, 2016 after the dredging started and the other shot in February, 2015. These two contrasting videos show how a unique marine ecosystem is being destroyed in the name of development. First video shows an ecosystem in destruction. The second video shot before the dredging started shows a heavenly ecosystem underwater. It is a unique ecosystem rich with corals, sponges and other forms of marine life. Do not think that all our sea bottoms are like this. There are only very few such areas. The area is close to only Wedge Bank in India, and one of only 20 in the entire world. This is like our Silent Valley forest in the land. Unfortunately, it is being destroyed forever.
Vizhinjam Port Project Causes Environmental Havoc
Vizhinjam port being built by Adani Group near Trivandrum, capital city of Kerala state of India, is hit by ‘rough weather’ even as it is taking its baby steps. According to news paper reports at least 150 houses washed away around the project area. Locals say that this kind of erosion is unprecedented and many of them connect it with the dredging and construction at the port site by Adani in Vizhinjam. At few places people came out in streets and put up road blocks to express their anguish! Adani has nothing to lose, because all the work being carried out now is at the expense of the State. According to the agreement signed between Kerala Government and Adani, the State should pay Adani Rs.1463 crores in the name of ‘Funded Works’ to do site preparation and construction of breakwaters. So, even if NGT quashes the Environment Clearance and put an end to the project, they won’t lose any money. The loss will be for public exchequer only!
TAILPIECE: With eye on China, India focuces on ports
Nidhi Verma and Krishna N. Das, News.com.au
An Indian conglomerate has started building the country’s first trans-shipment port, conceived 25 years ago, and the government will construct another $US4 billion ($A5.33 billion) facility nearby to create a shipping hub rivalling Chinese facilities in the region. New Delhi will grant billionaire Gautam Adani 16 billion rupees ($A3167 million) so-called “viability gap” funding to help the new port at Vizhinjam, on India’s southern tip, win business from established hubs elsewhere in Asia. Once Vizhinjam, in the state of Kerala, is operational the federal government will start building the port of Enayam in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, said a senior shipping ministry official. Enayam alone will save more than $US200 million in costs for Indian companies every year, he said. (Related: Five things about Adani’s Vizhinjam port project that will take on China-Pakistan’s Gwadar port)