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Vizhinjam port to impact fishing, damage beaches, says study

The project will be developed in three phases, and is expected to be commissioned by 2016

George Joseph  |  Kochi 

A Comprehensive Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) study on the proposed Rs 5,100-crore international seaport near Thiruvananthapuram pointed out that there would be a permanent loss to the beaches and grounds at Mulloor area, near the site, once the is operational.

The report prepared by Hyderabad-based L&T- Ramboll Consulting Engineers Ltd, said any restriction to activities in the marine areas up to 1.5 km from the shorelines of Nellikunnu and Mulloor areas would affect the livelihood of local fishermen.

The final report will be placed before the Union Ministry of Environment on July 29 for clearance.

The project will be developed in three phases, and is expected to be commissioned by 2016.

There has been a growing concern among the communities in the area fearing loss of livehood due to the project. Direct fish landing on these beaches will also not be possible during the construction of Phase-I of the transshipment terminal project, according to the report.

The study said increase in turbidity during construction would reduce the availability of fishing resources, which may lead to a drop in the sea catch.

The project had proposed a modern fishing harbour in order to mitigate issues relating to the local fishermen. The harbour, which will be one of longest in the country, is expected to have double the capacity of the existing one.

Loss of public beaches in Nellikkunnu and Mulloor areas would affect the business badly, particularly the resort owners, the report pointed out. However, the study proposes to compensate the resort-owners appropriately.

The report proposes to construct a new breakwater channel to improve tranquility across the new and old fishing harbours in order to reduce siltation.

It is expected that the new harbour will enhance opportunities for a better livelihood for the fishermen as facilities for fish drying will be advantageous to the local people. A seafood park has also been proposed as a part of the project.

It suggested that mussel collectors in the area should be compensated adequately as they may lose employment.

To improve in the project area, in Phase-I of the project, a cruise terminal has been proposed helping increase arrivals into the state and the country.

According to the study, the tourism sector of the southern districts of Kerala would be benefitted through the exclusive cruise terminal.

Improved tourism infrastructure will enhance opportunities of the Thiruvananthapuram - Kochi- Tuticorin tourist circuit that includes Kanyakumari also.

First Published: Thu, July 25 2013. 20:20 IST