'Bhoomi Puja' for Vallarpadam project performed

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Kochi, Dec 3 (UNI) Work on the Vallarpadam International Container Trans-shipment Terminal (ICTT) took off today, with the traditional 'bhoomi pooja' at the project site here.

The project with an investment of more than Rs 2,500 crore would be built by the India Gateway Terminal Limited (IGTL), part of the Dubai Port World (DPW), on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis.

DPW Senior Vice-President (Indian Sub-continent) Ganesh Raj said the first phase of the project, to be executed by Simplex Consortium, would be completed in 24 months.

On the recent labour problems at the Cochin Port, he said the Union and State Governments should initiate steps to ensure the smooth functioning of the port.

With the execution of the project, Kochi would join ports in Colombo, Salalah and Singapore, which now handle the bulk of the Indian transshipment business.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had laid the foundation stone for the prestigious project in February 2005. Work on the railway and road links for the project was underway.

Cochin Port Trust Chairman N Ramachandran, DPW senior officials and Ernakulam District Collector Mohammed Hanish were present on the occasion.

UNI

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