Work on Vizhinjam Port to start in March: Minister

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Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 28 (UNI) The Government is confident that the work of the prestigious Vizhinjam Deep Sea International Container Terminal Project will begin in March, Kerala Ports Minister M Vijayakumar, today said.

''We are confident that the work of the largest deep sea port in the country will begin by March, if the ongoing process of bidding went in its right direction,'' he told UNI.

Mr Vijayakumar said the government received tenders from four consortium and expressed the hope that five more such consortiums would submit their tenders before the cut-off date of January 31 for the Rs 5,328-crore project.

The minister said though 29 companies, including foreign firms, had obtained tender documents. They had now placed the tender forming consortiums, he said.

Asked about the foreign countries participating in the tender, he said ''it can not be divulged now as it is in the processing stage''. However, he admitted that lot of foreign countries had expressed their interest in the project and had obtained tender documents.

The Minister said the cut-off date for the tender had been postponed twice on the request of the bidders, as they sought more time to study the project, as it needed huge investment, he said.

''Since, I did not want to take a decision on the project on my own, the issue was put before the Cabinet and a decision in this regard was taken by it,'' he said. ''If we did not give time to the firms, no one would have participated in the bid. We would have lost another one year, if the government had gone for fresh tender process, '' he added.

Earlier, three tenders were only received and after scrutinising and evaluation, a Chinese Company was awarded the work. However, because of security reasons from the Centre, it was cancelled.

However, the government had added a clause in the tender documents that the final awarding would be made only after getting security clearance from the Centre, he added.

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