Thiruvananthapuram: Vizhinjam port, one of the mega projects in the state, has been sanctioned a sum of Rs 1,552 crore in the 2017-2018 budget. Apart from funding the phase-I project, which has an outlay of Rs 6770 crores, an amount of`22 crore has been earmarked for developing the present cargo port as the feeder port of the international port. The budget has also set aside an amount of Rs 150 crore for the rehabilitation of fishermen families residing within 50 metres from the sea shore. The budget speech states that priority will be given for rehabilitation connected with Vizhinjam harbour construction.
The state government had last year released `146 crore for the first phase of the project, according to K. Jayakumar, CEO, Vizhinjam International Seaport Limited. “It was mobilisation advance paid to the concessionaire a few months ago. Other than that only a small amount was needed for land acquisition and paying compensation to people whose livelihoods have been affected. We have projected about Rs 1100 crores as requirement for next year,” he said. Vicar-general of Thiruvananthapuram archdiocese Fr Eugene Pereira said that the government should focus on action. “The government had set aside Rs 50 crores for rehabilitation of fishermen families in the previous budget but we could not see it getting translated into rehabilitation of families in Thiruvananthapuram’s coastal areas,” he said. “Now, the budget says that the amount of Vizhinjam rehabilitation will get additional funds. We wish to see it materialised.”
Thiruvananthapuram mayor V.K. Prasanth has welcomed the proposal in the budget to bring the engineering wing in local self governments (LSGs) under their control and supervision. “This will facilitate better implementation of projects,” he said. ““Earlier, the corporation had little power over the engineering wing.” The pay and allowances of the engineers will be borne by respective LSG and later reimbursed by the state government. He said the government has sanctioned Rs 30 crore which the corporation had demanded for the modernising the slaughterhouse. Mr Prasanth said the budget was environment-friendly with enough focus on source-level waste management. “The city would certainly benefit from the allocation for the comprehensive development of Thiruvananthapuram Medical College and the Neyyar Dam alternative source water project,” he said.