Plight of Coastal residents demands urgent intervention of government; KCBC

Plight of Coastal residents demands urgent intervention of government; KCBC

Thiruvanathapuram – KCBC has said that the current scenario where people near the coastal regions of Vizhinjam Port are being evicted and are made to relinquish their traditional means of livelihood in the name of port development is a serious violation of human rights.

The environmental impact caused by the constructions as part of the port development and insecurity caused to the lives and property of tens of thousands of people deserves urgent intervention. The severe environmental damage caused by such construction activities are not justifiable. Several kilometres of coastline have disappeared, and homes and roads washed away by the sea. Organised efforts are going on to label those who strive for survival and protection of the environment as opposers of development are also going on.

The reluctance to consider the concerns raised by the local residents in connection with the construction of Vizhinjam port for several years is an insult to the very democratic framework of the country. It is a stark reality that many who lost their homes are in resettlement camps with no basic infrastructure for years. More families facing such threats to life and property are added to this every year. It is appreciable that after days of talks, the government has showed some positive approach yesterday and talks with the Chief Minister has been decided. However, since many promises made over the years have not yet materialised nor efforts are initialized to solve the issues, the protest committee has taken the staunch position to continue the strike until all previous promises are fulfilled.

Kerala Catholic Episcopal Committee declares its full support to the coastal residents who are fighting for survival at this stage and the Thiruvananthapuram Latin Archdiocese leading this struggle.

The authorities concerned should be prepared to take a democratic and constructive approach to the people's struggles for survival. The idea that people can be temporarily silenced by making false promises is inappropriate for a democratic framework. Governments must carry out their responsibility to protect the life and property of all citizens and implement projects without harming the environment.

His Beatitude Cardinal Mar George Alencherry, KCBC President; His Excellency Rt. Rev.Dr. Varghese Chakkalakal KCBC Vice-President and His Excellency Dr. Joseph Mar Thomas, KCBC Secretary General on behalf of the Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council also demanded that the government be ready to ensure the safety of citizens in all coastal areas facing threats.

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