Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 25 (IANS) Many supporters of Kerala's Vizhinjam port project, facing delay after the central government denied security clearance to a consortium that includes two Chinese firms, organised a symbolic demonstration here Wednesday.
The activists of Janapaksham, a people's movement, carried a 400-metre long banner through the heart of this Kerala capital, demanding that the project be taken up immediately.
'Emma Maersk, among the biggest container ships in the world, is 397-metre long, plying between Europe and Singapore. It travels just 10 nautical miles away from Vizhinjam. It can berth there if the Vizhinjam port will become reality,' said Elias John, president of Janapaksham.
'So we decided to have the 400-metre banner to show that ships bigger than Emma Maersk could berth here,' he added.
Written on the white banner in a single line are several slogans, including 'No Vizhinjam, No Kerala Day celebrations'.
'We will press our demand when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits the state for its 50th Formation Day (Kerala Day) celebrations on Nov 1,' said John.
The banner was carried by around 200 people through the city and came to a halt in front of the state secretariat.
The central government has refused to give security clearance to the Rs.43.6-billion port project after the consortium, which includes two Chinese firms, Kaidi Electric Power Company and China Harbour Engineering Company, won the tender.
The reported reason behind the denial is that the two Chinese firms also have a contract to work on a Pakistani port.
A major advantage the site has over other ports in India is that it does not need any dredging. Moreover, it is very close to the international waters.
An area of 150 acres has been earmarked for the port and there would be no displacement of the local fishing population, according to the project proposal.