A Special Officer has been appointed to look into the impact of a proposed port at Kovalam in Kanyakumari district, which has run into opposition from a section of locals, the Tamil Nadu Assembly was informed today. Chief Minister K Palaniswami said the 'bhoomi pooja' for the commercial port proposed by the Centre at Kovalam slated for December 20 last year was halted following opposition from local fishermen who apprehended that the project would affect their livelihood. He was responding to DMK member S Austin who referred to the opposition to the port initiatives by the locals. An earlier move to locate the port at Enayam in the district also met with opposition from the local people. The Chief Minister said a meeting held by anti-nuclear activist S Udayakumar in Kovalam on December 23 decided to oppose the project. However, another section of locals held a meeting in nearby Kovilvilai two days later and decided to stage counter-protests in support of the project. Noting that the project will be useful for the state's economic growth, Palaniswami said a special officer (an IAS official) has been appointed to look into the matter. "Appropriate action will be taken by Amma's (late chief minister Jayalalithaa's) government by sympathetically considering the representations of all sections of people," he said. Union Minister of State for Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan, who is a Lok Sabha MP from Kanyakumari, has been batting for the Enayam Port project and has accused 'vested interests' behind the opposition to it.
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