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Trial Run of Vizhinjam International Seaport Scheduled for July 12

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On Friday 12th July 2024, a container ship carrying 1500 containers will be berthed at the port as part of the trial run. The trial run will be inaugurated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the presence of Karan Adani, Managing Director of Adani Ports and SEZ Limited (APSEZ) signifying the operational readiness of the port and its capacity to handle significant maritime traffic. The first mothership will reach Vizhinjam on Thursday, the 11th July 2024.

“Despite numerous challenges, our government has successfully transformed this dream into reality through a public-private partnership (PPP) with the Adani Group. The development of Vizhinjam as a world-class transshipment hub will not only boost our economy but also create numerous employment opportunities and enhance Kerala’s stature on the world stage,” said Industries Minister P Rajeeve.

Earlier, Port Minister V N Vasavan informed the Legislative Assembly that Vizhinjam port can handle cargo after being declared a customs port.

“The port has received the location code (IN NYY1). The port is awaiting Electronic Data Interchange recognition, custodian code, Immigration Check Post clearance, full clearance of NSPC, etc. The full-scale commercial operation of VIST is expected to start by December,” said the minister.

The minister announced that the state government has made arrangements for signing an agreement for receiving the Centre’s share of the viability gap fund (VGF).

The tripartite agreement will be signed by the state, centre, and Adani Vizhinjam Port Pvt Ltd (AVPPL), which is the concessionaire of the project. It has been informed that a meeting of the empowered committee under the Union Finance Ministry will be held on July 27 to consider this matter, he said.

Background:

The ship ‘Zhen Hua 15’ carrying huge cranes required for the port was the first ship to dock at the port on October 15, 2023.

Commitment to Address Concerns:

Minister Saji Cherian assured the attendees that the government is committed to addressing all the concerns raised during the meeting. He emphasized the importance of balancing development with sustainability and community welfare. The organizing committee has been tasked with ensuring that all necessary measures are in place to address these objections effectively.

The trial run of the Vizhinjam International Seaport is a significant step towards operationalizing this key infrastructure project, which is expected to bolster trade and economic growth in the region. The government, along with VISL and AVPPL, is dedicated to ensuring a smooth and successful trial run while addressing the concerns of all stakeholders involved.

Organizing Committee Meeting

A meeting was held on July 5, 2024, at the port office to form the Organizing Committee for the event on July 12. The committee will oversee the planning and execution of the trial run event, ensuring that all aspects are handled smoothly and efficiently. The meeting brought together key stakeholders and representatives from different organizations involved in the project to coordinate their efforts and finalize the details of the event.

Significance of the Event

The trial run of the Vizhinjam International Seaport is a significant step towards the port’s full operational status. This seaport is expected to play a crucial role in enhancing Kerala’s maritime trade and boosting the region’s economic development. The successful completion of the trial run will pave the way for the seaport’s official launch and subsequent commercial operations.

Involvement of Various Agencies and Organizations

The Kerala Government, VISL, and AVPPL are collaborating with multiple agencies and organizations to ensure the success of the trial run event. These agencies are expected to contribute to different aspects such as security, logistics, event management, and public relations, among others.

The trial run of the Vizhinjam International Seaport is said to be eagerly anticipated by both the local community and stakeholders in the maritime industry. The successful execution of this event will mark a significant achievement in the development of the port and set the stage for its future operations.

Members Present at the Meeting

The meeting on July 5th saw the participation of several key figures and representatives, including:

  • Minister Saji Cherian
  • M Vincent MLA
  • Mayor Arya Rajendran
  • Representatives from VISL
  • Representatives from AVPPL
  • Senior officials from various government departments
  • Members of the local community
  • Representatives from environmental groups

Trial Run of Vizhinjam International Seaport: Objections and Concerns

The trial run of the Vizhinjam International Seaport in Thiruvananthapuram is a major milestone, but it has not been without its share of objections and concerns. Various stakeholders, including local communities, environmental groups, and political entities, have raised several points of contention regarding the project.

Environmental Concerns

1. Marine Ecosystem Impact: Environmental activists have expressed concerns about the potential damage to the marine ecosystem, including coral reefs and fish breeding grounds, due to dredging and construction activities.
2. Coastal Erosion: There are fears that the construction of the port could exacerbate coastal erosion in nearby areas, affecting the livelihoods of local fishermen and the stability of coastal villages.
3. Pollution: Concerns about pollution from increased ship traffic and port activities, including oil spills, waste discharge, and air pollution, have been raised.

Social and Economic Concerns

1. Displacement of Fishermen: Local fishing communities are worried about losing their traditional fishing grounds and facing reduced fish catches, which could affect their livelihoods.
2. Land Acquisition Issues: There have been objections regarding the acquisition of land for the port project, with some residents claiming inadequate compensation and lack of proper rehabilitation measures.
3. Employment Opportunities: There are concerns that the promised employment opportunities may not materialize for the local population, or that they may be insufficient to offset the negative impacts on traditional livelihoods.

Financial and Operational Concerns

1. Project Delays and Cost Overruns: Critics have pointed to delays and escalating costs in the construction of the port, questioning the project’s financial viability and the efficient use of public funds.
2. Competition with Existing Ports: There are concerns that the new port may not attract sufficient business to justify the investment, especially given competition from established ports in the region.

Administrative and Legal Concerns

1. Regulatory Approvals: Questions have been raised about the adequacy and transparency of the regulatory approvals process, including environmental clearances and public consultations.
2. Conflict of Interest: Some critics have pointed to potential conflicts of interest in the partnership between the Kerala Government, VISL, and AVPPL, calling for greater transparency and accountability.

Specific Objections Raised During the Meeting

– Environmental Impact Assessments: Representatives from environmental groups argued that the impact assessments conducted were inadequate and did not fully capture the potential long-term consequences of the project.
– Compensation for Affected Communities: Community leaders voiced objections regarding the compensation and rehabilitation packages offered to those displaced by the project, calling them insufficient and unfair.
– Public Consultation Process: Critics highlighted a lack of meaningful public consultation, arguing that the views and concerns of local communities were not adequately considered in the decision-making process.

Responses to Objections

In response to these objections, the Organizing Committee and project stakeholders have made several commitments:
1. Enhanced Environmental Safeguards: Promises to implement stronger environmental protection measures and ongoing monitoring to mitigate negative impacts.
2. Fair Compensation and Rehabilitation: Commitments to review and enhance compensation and rehabilitation packages for affected communities.
3. Increased Transparency: Assurances of greater transparency in project operations and decision-making processes, including more comprehensive public consultations.
4. Employment Initiatives: Plans to prioritize local employment and provide training programs to help the local population benefit from new job opportunities created by the port.

While these steps aim to address some of the concerns, ongoing dialogue and collaboration between stakeholders will be crucial to ensure that the Vizhinjam International Seaport project proceeds in a manner that balances development with sustainability and social responsibility.

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