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Vizhinjam Port and some questions

And Adani came back with a bang!


A protest that lasted 140 days came to an end in Vizhinjam the other day. For those who don’t know, Vizhinjam is a seaport near Thiruvananthapuram, capital of Kerala. The International Container Trans-shipment Terminal project got under way there in 2015, not much after Narendra Modi became India’s Prime Minister. Modi is important here – as anywhere in the cosmos now – because the project was handed over on a platter to none other than his friend, Gautam Shantilal Adani.

It was Oommen Chandy’s Congress government in Kerala then. The irony is that the Marxist government of Pinarayi Vijayan which succeeded soon went out of its way to support Adani though Vijayan’s party is the very antithesis of capitalism, particularly crony capitalism of Modi’s kind. Vijayan’s party is also vehemently opposed to everything that Modi’s party stands for. But in Vizhinjam, the two parties came together, shook hands and partook of Adani’s sumptuous dinner.

Years passed and nothing much happened in Vizhinjam. At least, not what was promised in the contract. The first phase of the project was to be completed by 2021. If it was not completed, Adani had to pay a massive fine of Rs 12 lakh per day to Kerala government. The work was not completed and the fine was not paid. No one expects any corporate bigwig like Adani to pay fines to governments in India. But there are some media people who will always create noise about these things in Kerala.

Now a Malayalam journal that has not yet gone the NDTV way, Keralasabdam, comes out with the allegation that the 140-day protest was orchestrated by Adani himself in order to escape the enormous fines. It is also interesting that the Catholic Church in Thiruvananthapuram led the protest. Now the fascinating questions is: how much did the Church get from Adani in the deal?

Adani is now demanding Rs200 crore as compensation for the labour-days lost because of the protest. That’s a nice twist.

The simple fisherfolk who are the real losers in the whole process have been taken for a ride all through. Hundreds of them lost their houses because of the project. Many lost lives. Thousands of them are enduring unwarranted discomfort in relief camps and rented houses. And now Keralasabdam says that even their god betrayed them.

I won’t be surprised if the Church in Kerala chose to abide with Modi & Co. There are too many sins that the leaders of the Church have committed in the recent past that a PM like Modi can pick up easily and wield against the establishment very effectively. The Church will crack like a faulty fortress within moments if those sins are exposed. It won’t crumble, though. Religion is still a blinding force, you see. You can never open the eyes of a fanatic. Try and check out.

The Vizhinjam project has already cost much to Kerala. Not just financially. Beaches like Shankhumukham vanished after the dredging started in Vizhinjam. Rivers in Kerala altered their shapes. The granite hills vanished as the rocks were used in the project. And most of all, the fishermen in the area lost everything that was dear to them.

Who gains in the end? Not Kerala. Kerala just pays for the project. All the profits will go to Adani once the project is completed though he has contributed nothing in effect to the project. He will pay commission to political parties. Politicians will gain. They have already gained too much. Why suck the blood of ordinary people again and again? Such questions are idiotic, I know. This is Development, yaar.

Comments

  1. Hari OM
    White Elephant projects abound, I fear... It is not idiotic to ask the questions. It's idiots in places that could make a difference who are NOT asking the questions that leaves such things open to abuse... YAM xx

    ReplyDelete

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