Kerala’s Minister for Ports, Mr K. Babu, recently announced that the state Cabinet would soon take a final call on re-inviting bids for the Vizhinjam international seaport and container transhipment terminal, it is reported.
His statement comes in the wake of the conclusion arrived at by an empowered committee, chaired by the state Chief Secretary, that going ahead with the single bid in hand would not be in the state's interests. Following the committee's observations, the Cabinet will be taking up the matter for discussion at the 'earliest possible' opportunity, the Minister said.
Earlier, the sole bid by a consortium led by Welspun Infratech for the prestigious project had hit a roadblock after failing to reach agreement on several procedural issues.
Mr Babu attributed the failure of the bid to the consortium's unacceptable demand for a grant of Rs 479 crore, which was later scaled down to Rs 399.55 crore. However, he was confident that the initial roadblock would not diminish investor interest as and when the re-tendering takes place.
He said that the state government would prove wrong those eternal pessimists who were casting aspersions on its capacity to promote and execute big infrastructure projects. He was hopeful of getting the environment impact assessment (EIA) clearance for the project very soon and apprised that the state was also considering lobbying with the Centre for exemption from Cabotage.
He expressed optimism that the government's initiative to obtain EIA clearance and Cabotage exemption, and develop basic infrastructure as a 'landlord' would make Vizhinjam a compelling proposition, Exim News Service informs.