Kerala, Centre turn a blind eye to fishermen to favour Adani, says Prashant Bhushan

Kerala, Centre turn a blind eye to fishermen to favour Adani, says Prashant Bhushan

It is shocking to see how the State and the Central governments together support a man who has become the second richest person in the world to construct a port displacing hundreds from their natural habitat along the coastline of Thiruvananthapuram, senior lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan has said.

It is sad to note that the State and Centre continue to turn a blind eye to the needs of the fishermen community which is under enormous pressure after the construction of the breakwater at Vizhinjam in favour of Mr. Adani, Mr. Bhushan said during a media conference organised by the Thiruvananthapuram Press Club here on Sunday .

The damage along the coastline where the sea has advanced around 500 m inward in many places can be seen easily. The extent of the damage will increase if the construction of the breakwater continues. The coastline has eroded at least 15 km more from the breakwater even as there is no need for another international seaport at Vizhinjam in Kerala, he said.

In the case of the SilverLine semi-high-speed rail, the Railway Board has, fortunately, realised the folly of supporting the project and and withdrew the support for now. A project that requires an enormous amount of cutting (of hills) was conceived without any ground-level survey and relying on Google Maps. This will also bankrupt the State for a project which will benefit only a section of people, said Mr. Bhushan.

It was a retrograde move by the State government to pass the Kerala Lok Ayukta (Amendment) Bill hurriedly as it seeks to dilute the cardinal principles of accountability. The issue raises a conflict of interest as the State government would be the final authority to take a call on whether a person who faces charges or is prima facie guilty of charges should step down or not, said Mr. Bhushan.

He welcomed the University Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2022 passed by the State which seeks to raise the appointment age of Vice Chancellors to 65 years and increase the strength of the selection committee to five (from the existing three). “There is nothing wrong with the move as it is a known fact the Governors are mere puppets of the Centre and they have plans to stuff universities and premier institutes in the country with people who profess the ideology of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS),” he said.

Mr. Bhushan also welcomed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, saying that the rule by the Narendra Modi government has destroyed the brotherhood of the country by dividing people along religious lines. “Therefore, it is high time that political parties and social outfits came together to challenge the narrative of dividing people,” he added.