Vizhinjam Fishery Harbour

Vizhinjam is situated in Thiruvananthapuram District, 16 Kilometres to the south of the Thiruvananthapuram City, the capital of Kerala State (Latitude 8º22’22ʺN and Longitude 76º59’18ʺE). The fishing village is located by the side of the natural deep bay, formed by a rocky promontory on the northern side and the rocky outcrops on the southern side. These natural facilities coupled with the traditional fishing activity in the village, favour the establishment of a deep sea fishing harbour at Vizhinjam, to exploit the available fish resources in the near and far off regions. The National Highway 47 passes close to the fishing village. Thiruvananthapuram is the nearby main railway station, which is 16 Kilometres away from the site. Kovalam, the international tourist centre is only 3 Kilometres away from the site.

Proposals for the development of Vizhinjam were formulated by Mr. Carl. R. Bjuke, a Swedish Fishing Harbour expert in 1960. This fishing harbour is envisaged tobe developed in three stages.

The first stage of the fishing harbour at Vizhinjam was sanctioned at an estimated cost of ` 173 Lakhs by Government of India vide letter number 25/9/67 Fy(H) dated 22/01/68. Though the works were commenced just after sanction, the works were stalled till October 1971, due to some reasons and were completed in 1974. The works completed under this stage are 305m main breakwater, service jetty of 60m long, buildings, quarters, water supply and drainage, electrification and other ancillary facilities.

Initially, the harbour was envisaged as a shelter for the small mechanised vessels only. Subsequently, considering the natural depth available as well as the proximity of the wadge bank area, a scheme for a deep sea fishing project was formulated in the subsequent stages. Anticipating Government of India’s, sanction Government of Kerala had accorded sanction for the second stage of the works, at a cost of ` 280 Lakhs during October 1997, vide GO (Ms) No. 133/77/DD. The main components included in this stage are acquisition of 40 hectares of land, extension of main breakwater by 100m and construction of leeward breakwater. For the third stage works also Government of Kerala had issued sanction, anticipating Government of India’s sanction, at an estimated cost of ` 259.20 Lakhs, during June 1983. The main items of work in this stage are dredging, quay walls, auction hall, repair facilities, road, administrative office, gate, information centre, toilet, sewage and drainage, fencing, radio communication and navigational aids.

Due to the vast changes that had taken place in the fisheries sector, the project report was modified during 1985. Accordingly, an estimate costing ` 704 Lakhs, for the second and third stage development together was sanctioned by Government of India, vide letter number 33013-21/82/Fy(H) Vol II dated 04/02/82 and Government of Kerala’s administrative sanction, vide GO (Ms) No. 15/87/F&PD dated 31/03/87. As per the report, it was proposed to introduce 60 numbers 13.3m, 20 numbers 23-30m and 20 numbers 30-40m trawlers. The acquisition of the 40 hectares of land envisaged in the second stage works was reduced to 20 hectares, in order to reduce the problems of rehabilitation and eviction without sacrificing the functional requirements of the harbour. (The number of families under 40 hectares comes to 2,000, whereas the same under 20 hectares is about 1,000).

During July 1990, the project report for the second and third stages costing ` 704 Lakhs was again revised to ` 1,100 Lakhs (based on schedule of rates-1990), due to cost escalation and as the expenditure exceeded the sanctioned cost. Again the schedule of rate was revised during 1992 and the report was again revised to ` 1,585 Lakhs, during 1995. As the project works could not be completed as targeted, due to various reasons subsequent periodical revision of schedule rates also affects the project cost.

The present stage of construction of the different components as per the sanctioned scheme is given below.

Sl. No.
Item of Work
Present Stage
Dredging and Disposal
Heavy siltation observed. Dredging, reclamation and raising the existing groyne, khaber protection and compound wall work can’t be continued due to local protest.

Excavation in Dry
Completed (1,96,439m³)

Excavation Under Water
Maintenance dredging tobe commenced

Seaward (Extension)
Leeward and Side Drain
Approach Road and Diversion of Pallichal Thodu
Quays 4m and 6m Deep
Repair facilities (Gear shed)
Auction Hall
Navigational Aids
Tobe arranged later
Ancillary Facilities

Land Acquisition
Road and Surface
Internal Road, Parking Area and Drain
Sewage and Drainage
Water Supply
Waste distribution system tobe done
Administrative Office, Gates, Toilet, Information Centre, etc.
Administrative office completed. Construction of gate house and guard room at one side completed and other side, work obstructed by local people.
Fencing, Compound Wall, etc.
Partially completed. Construction of compound wall at D&E blocks commenced, but work stopped, due to obstruction of public. Work in slow progress for the balance work of compound wall.
Radio Communication

Shore Protection in front of D&E Block and Approach
Work Completed

The salient features of the harbour are as follows.

Fishing fleet proposed

13.3 m Trawler – 60 Nos.
23-30m Trawler – 20 Nos.
30-40m Trawler – 20 Nos.
Total – 100 Nos.

Length of main breakwater – 405m

Length of leeward breakwater – 270m

Area of the harbour basin – 16.4 Hectares

Depth at the entrance of the harbour – 10m

Length of quay wall – 545m

Anticipated annual fish production – 47,000 Ton

Additional employment generated (direct) – 5,640 persons

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