Adani Group’s $900 million port project has sparked violence in India | News Bharat

A seven-year agitation against an Adani Group port project turned violent in southern India over the weekend.

Protesters belonging to a local fishing community in Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of the coastal state of Kerala, attacked a local police station yesterday (November 27). The incident left more than 35 policemen injured and damaged property worth Rs 85 lakh.

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The attack came a day after construction resumed on Adani Vizhinjam Port after a court gave the green light to the company for its $900 million project.

The court dismissed environmental concerns raised by local residents. Protesters said “port development has caused coastal erosion and deprived them of their livelihoods,” Reuters reported.

However, the court ordered the state government to provide police protection to the project and barred protesters from entering it.

The Vizhinjam protest has parallels with the unrest the Adani Group faced at the Carmichael coal mine in Queensland, Australia.

Why is Kerala’s proposed location important to Adani Ports?

Adani’s Vizhinjam port, which is being built as a public-private partnership project, is expected to help the company win business from Sri Lanka, Singapore and Dubai.

Developed by Adani Ports, it is a deep water facility and is touted as India’s first “mega container transhipment terminal”. Considered more economical than point-to-point shipping, a transshipment port transfers containers from main vessels on key trade routes to smaller vessels on other trade routes, creating a network of hubs and spokes.

Construction first began at Vizhunjam in December 2015, and the first phase of the project was expected to be completed by 2025. However, the protests that started around the same time threw a wrench in the Adani team.

The protesters are said to represent a fishing community of more than 50,000 members whose livelihood is hidden.

However, the Kerala government has stressed that the project has no role in the coastal erosion seen in the area. It pointed to natural disasters as the culprit.

Similarities to the Carmichael coal mine in Australia

Fifty-nine-year-old Gautam Adani’s company previously made headlines for its Carmichael coal mine project in Australia, where it clashed with climate activists.

Protesters there were concerned about carbon emissions and damage to the Great Barrier Reef. Adani was eventually forced to lower production targets for the mine and delay its first coal delivery by six years.

“In recent years, 44 of the world’s largest insurers, including five that previously insured Carmichael – Brit, Apollo, Tokio Marine Kiln, Aspen and Ascot – have said they will not provide cover to the mine in the future… Banks, including BNY Mellon and China’s ICBC have severed ties with or excluded funding for the Adani mine in Australia,” The Financial Times reported.

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