Due to the state government’s indifference in providing a replacement plot of one hectare of land for the purchase of the land belonging to the Diocese of Vizhinjam on the Adani port site, the port authorities are unable to complete the fencing works around the land. Because of this, the General Director of Shipping has not shared the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) code with Adani Port as it is a must to start ship service from a port.
In order to obtain the ISPS code, a port must meet a number of criteria such as fencing work, signaling system, CCTV camera installations, etc. With the exception of the fence work, the Port Authority has completed all other work to preserve the code. However, the code was denied due to the pending fence work.
Two structures – an idol of Maria Matha and a holy cross – owned by the Diocese of Vizhinjam are located on the port site and years ago the government promised them a replacement plot for relocation of these structures. However, nothing has been done so far.
With only a few months left until the first mother ship from China anchors at Vizhinjam International Seaport (most likely in September), port authorities have expressed concern that they will not be able to start ship service without securing the ISPC code.
The Diocese of Vizhinjam has requested one hectare of land in Mullumukku, an area near the port, for the relocation of the buildings. However, the government has not yet agreed to this.
“The harbor has to be fenced off over a length of 900 metres. Almost 70% of the fence work is completed, but without the relocation of structures, the fence cannot be completed. We are all ready to welcome the first ship from China with 40 cranes to the port in September. However, our attempts to secure ISPS code have not materialized so far,” said Sushil Nair, the port’s general manager.
So far, two meetings have taken place between the officials of the port, the government and the heads of the archdiocese. However, no solution could be found at these meetings. “The problem will be solved soon when the community leaders have agreed with us to move. However, they are dissatisfied with the location to which they are to be relocated. A decision will be made in the coming meetings,” said K Biju, port secretary.
There will soon be a meeting attended by the district collector to find an appropriate solution to the problem, he said.
“We have claimed one hectare of land near Mullumukku in the Vizhinjam-Balaramapuram section for the relocation of the buildings. However, they have not yet agreed to our request. The site where these structures exist today can accommodate hundreds of worshipers. We need a place similar to Mullumukku. If they try to give us land in remote areas, we could ask for more than one hectare,” said Nicholas T, Vizhinjam diocese vicar.