A fall from a bike during a rally did not deter Sister Sali Joseph from supporting fisherfolk protesting the construction of an international port in coastal southwestern India.
The fishing harbor being converted into an international seaport “has already caused severe damage to their houses and fishing activities,” said the Medical Mission Sister.
Sister Joseph is among hundreds of Catholic nuns who have joined bishops, priests, and activists to oppose the construction of the Vizhinjam International Deepwater Multipurpose Seaport, also known as Vizhinjam Port, on the Arabian Sea coast near Thiruvananthapuram, capital of Kerala state.
Indian businessman Gautam Adani is behind the construction of Vizhinjam Port, adding to the 13 seaports and airports he owns throughout India.
Construction of the port is under agreement between Adani’s company and the Kerala government, as well as the patronage of the federal government, as the port is being built on government land and sea.
According to the Kerala State Coastal Development Corporation, 42 villages around Vizhinjam coast have roughly 183,000 fisherfolk, 95 percent of whom are Catholics belonging to the Trivandrum Latin Archdiocese.
Sister Joseph said all nuns in Kerala now support the fisherfolk after major superiors pledged their support to the protests.
The fisherfolk demand a rehabilitation package for those who have lost houses and occupation because of the port; subsidized kerosene; and a study about the environmental impact of the project.
More than 500 fisherfolk have been temporarily rehabilitated at a warehouse and await a proper shelter.
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