Monday, March 15, 2010

Investors meet on Vizhinjam port next month

TPURAM: An investors� meet will be held next month for the proposed Vizhinjam port in the state and work on the project will start during the tenure of the Left government, Ports Minister M Vijaya Kumar told the assembly on Monday.

He said the meeting would help identify the investor for the proposed port.

By November-December, we are confident that the investor would be identified and construction of the port will begin during the tenure of this government itself, the minister said. Assembly elections are due in the state in May 2011.

The Vizhinjam port is to come up near the famed tourist destination of Kovalam and the proposed site has a natural depth at 24 meters, one of the deepest in the world and hence requires no dredging. It will be located close to a busy international shipping route, and is envisaged to handle 4.1 million containers annually.

The project has been hanging fire for nearly a decade.

It had got the necessary clearances for the second time last year but Hyderabad-based Lanco Kondapalli, which had won the bid to build the port, withdrew from the project, citing indefinite delays and possible legal tangles in the project.

The project cost was then envisaged at Rs.53.48 billion.

The state government has committed to develop the basic infrastructure, which includes rail and road connectivity to the port site, and has set aside Rs.450 crore for the purpose.

This would be undertaken by the government-run Vizhinjam International Sea Port Ltd.

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