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Vizhinjam International Deepwater Multi-purpose Port, Kerala, India

Project awarded to Adani Ports & SEZ, meant to achieve economic development and job creation. Expected bad consequences on the valuable fragile local ecosystems, coastal livelihoods including fishing and tourism.


The project awarded to Adani Ports & SEZ in 2015 is touted by its supporters to usher in development, economic benefits and massive job creation in Kerala. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict: Vizhinjam International Deepwater Multi-purpose Port, Kerala, India
State or province:Kerala
Location of conflict:Thiruvananthapuram
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Wetlands and coastal zone management
Ports and airport projects
Aquaculture and fisheries
Building materials extraction (quarries, sand, gravel)
Specific commodities:Biological resources
Ecosystem Services
Tourism services
Sand, gravel
Project Details and Actors
Project details

A port at Vizhinjam is a dream that has been touted for over half a century in Kerala and more recently since the 1990s. After three unsuccessful tendering attempts in 2004, 2007 and in 2011, it was awarded to the sole bidder Adani Ports & SEZ in 2015. The multi-purpose deep water seaport and allied infrastructure projects coming up on 351 acres of land- of which 131 acres is reclaimed land- is slated to be the largest of its kind in the country when completed. Being 12 nautical miles off the Persian Gulf–Malacca shipping lane that accounts for more than one-third of the world’s shipping traffic, with a depth of 20m, and the advantage of minimal littoral drift it is projected to attract a large percentage of transshipment traffic in the subcontinent.

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Project area:145 (of which 52 ha is reclaimed from the sea)
Level of Investment:40,890,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:60,000 fisher people; 10,000 tourism related jobs
Start of the conflict:05/12/2015
Company names or state enterprises:Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited from India
Vizhinjam International Seaport Limited (VISL) from India
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:-Friends of Marine Life
-Trivandrum Latin Archdiocese
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Environmental activists and lawyers
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Potential: Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Occupational disease and accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Land dispossession
Potential: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:It cannot be considered as an environmental justice success because the demands of the various protesting groups have not been met. Recently with the ongoing construction, more shorelines have been eroded and coastal ecosystems are being affected. The spin-off impacts on other livelihoods dependent on the coast haven't been accounted for. There is a reported shortage of construction material for the project for which additional mining sites are being allotted. The environmental impacts because of this, despite protests, haven't also been addressed.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Compliance Audits on ‘Implementation of Vizhinjam International Deepwater Multipurpose Seaport Project’

May 2017
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

THE VIZHINJAM PORT: DREAM OR DISASTER- A Study of the Economic, Environmental & Social Impacts of the Port

The Research Collective (PSA), November 2017
[click to view]

Catholic Church, Fishers and Negotiating Development: A Study on the Vizhinjam Port Project

Ashni A L, Santhosh R, December 2019
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Vizhinjam Port Archives

Keraleeyam Masika
[click to view]

Vizhinjam fishermen protest over compensation package

Times of India, March 2020
[click to view]

Is the deep water sea project in Kerala an environmental and livelihood threat?

K A Shaji, August 2019, Mongabay
[click to view]

Adani’s Vizhinjam port still mired in controversy after inquiry into CAG report

Nileena M S, October 2018
[click to view]

Adani’s Vizhinjam port still mired in controversy after inquiry into CAG report

Nileena M S, October 2018, Caravan Magazine
[click to view]

Adani Group gets NOC for 19 quarries, mining begins in one

Salim Joseph, August 2019, Times of India
[click to view]

Damage to Western Ghats makes Kerala floods worse

Nidheesh M K, August 2019, LiveMint
[click to view]

[2]Shortage of limestone affects work at Adani''s Vizhinjam port

Outlook. 23 Jan.2020
[click to view]

[1] New India Express. Waste-to-energy plant at Vizhinjam sparks protest. Earlier, a similar attempt to set up a waste plant at the ecologically sensitive Perimangala was dropped following disapproval. 8th May 2020.
[click to view]

[3] Perilous port: Proposed seaport in Vizhinjam can spell disaster for fishers, tourism, and biodiversity in Kerala.

Down to Earth. M Suchitra. 7 June 2015
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:EnvJustice, ICTA-UAB/PE&Degrowth Master, Gouri Ramkumar
Last update30/07/2020
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