Vizhinjam: Pastoral letter airs concern

Thiruvananthapuram (Matters India): A pastoral letter issued by Archbishop M Soosai Pakiam, of Trivandrum, which says that the Vizhinjam port project, in its present form, would adversely impact the coast and the coastal communities, was read out in all churches under the Latin Archdiocese of Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday.

“The letter was read out on Sunday morning in the nearly 150 churches under the Archdiocese situated in Thiruvananthapuram and Kanyakumari districts,” a church spokesperson said.

In it Soosai Pakiam says that if the government intended to go ahead with the project in its present form, the church would block it ‘at any cost’.

“We see this as a human rights issue. We are not against development. We are only seeking to protect the interests of a section of the community who stand to lose heavily due to to development,” the letter said.

It urges the parishes to generate awareness among the members and to study the issue deeply and support the Archdiocese in this matter. The Environment Impact Assessment has not looked into several important issues concerning the port and its impact scientifically, The Indian Express reported.

Many conclusions in the EIA report merely tries to justify the project by hiding facts. The EIA has not properly studied the impact of the project on the fishing community, the letter said.

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