Meeting with Chandy over port positive: Kerala church

Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 15 (IANS) The Latin Church in Kerala on Saturday held talks with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy over the proposed Vizhinjam Port project and said the meeting was positive.

The church has been opposing the project and has maintained the project in its current form will pose a threat to the local fishing community.

Earlier this month, it issued a pastoral letter warning to the Kerala government not to go ahead with the project.

Chief Priest Eugene Pereira led the church delegation. He was accompanied by some priests and others who held a more than 90 minute discussion with Chandy.

“This is the first time the state government gave us a patient hearing,” Pereira told reporters waiting outside the official residence of Chandy.

“The chief minister has assured us all our fears would be looked into. We will now carry the message to our general body and tomorrow we expect to meet the Kerala government once more,” he added.

The move came at a time when on Monday an agreement with Adani Ports to build a port near the tourist destination Kovalam here will be signed.

“He (Chandy) has assured us that our fears over the attrition of land on account of the port would be looked into. More than 22,000 fishermen are going to be affected. He has assured us will be addressed in the appropriate manner,” added Pereira.

The first phase of the project will cost Rs.4,000 crore and Adani Ports was the lone bidder.

Work on the port will officially begin on November 1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to lay the foundation stone.

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