Thiruvananthapuram, June 10 (IANS) Nearly a quarter of a century after it was mooted, the Vizhinjam port in Kerala has been finally awarded to Adani Ports.
“We have decided to clear the project and award it to the lone bidder Adani Ports,” Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told reporters here after the weekly cabinet meeting.
“On November 1, Kerala’s formation day, the work for Vizhinjam port will begin,” he said.
Last month, two different committees that looked into the proposal submitted by Adani Ports for setting up the port near the beach town of Kovalam had given the go-ahead.
But Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Pinarayi Vijayan has alleged an Rs.6,000-crore scam in the deal.
Hence, Chandy called an all-party meet to clear the air.
“At the meeting, the Left demanded that all agreements be made public. The only document that was not uploaded was related to the final bid,” Ports Minister K. Babu told reporters.
“We have now got legal opinion that it too can also be uploaded and it has been done,” he added.
CPI-M leader V.S. Achuthanandan slammed the deal too, alleging irregularities in the deal.
“The biggest gainers from this project which is going to be a burden on Kerala are (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi and Chandy who have handed this to Adani,” said Achuthanandan.
But Babu said that when Achuthanandan was the chief minister, they had also held discussions with Adani and minutes of that meeting could not be located.
Since the model code of conduct for the by-election in Aruvikkara assembly constituency is in force, the government will seek the permission of the Election Commission to make the next move on signing agreements with Adani Ports.
Vizhinjam port, when completed, will enable ships with a capacity of even 18,000 TEU to dock in the port.
The proposed port, located close to the busy international shipping line, will handle 4.1 million containers annually.
The Rs.4,000-crore first phase of the port is expected to be completed by 2019.
Adani Ports was the lone bidder and had sought Rs.1,635 crore as grant for the project.