DECISION TO DIVERT VOC PORT FUNDS TO ENAYAM PROJECT DRAWS FLAK

Protesting the Centre’s decision to utilise a sizable portion of Thoothukudi VOC Port’s funds for establishing a harbour at Enayam in Kanniyakumari district, members of various trade unions jointly organised a demonstration.

After the Union Cabinet recently gave its nod for the establishment of a seaport at Enayam near Colachel, it has been decided to utilise the funds of Thoothukudi VOC Port, Chennai Port and Ennore Kamarajar Port for the proposed project to be executed on an outlay of Rs. 25,000 crore.

The protesting trade union activists charged that the Centre had asked VOC Port administration to release Rs. 500 crore from its fund as its share for the establishment of the new harbour.

Members of various trade unions of VOC Port staged a demonstration near the administrative office of the port. They urged the Centre to give up the idea of diverting funds from Thoothukudi, Chennai and Ennore ports.

Trade unions’ coordinator Russell led the agitation. Addressing the protestors, Mr. Russell said the Centre was keen on diverting the funds of cash-starved VOC Port to an economically unviable project and hence the investment to be made in Enayam port was highly condemnable.

“Even as VOC Port administration has been left at the mercy of financial institutions for executing its own development projects after its Rs 50 crore given for Sethusamudhram Ship Channel Project is yet to be recovered, diverting of the port’s funds to an unfeasible mega project will completely paralyse the operations of the Thoothukudi port. The Centre’s decision will seriously impair the future of VOC Port and its employees. If this callous decision is not withdrawn, the port workers, their family members and the pensioners will organise series of agitations,” Mr. Russell warned.