Indo-Malaysian consortium to get Vizhinjam Port project: CM

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Thiruvananthapuram, May 23 (UNI) The Kerala Government has decided to entrust the consortium led by Hyderabad-based Lanco Kondapalli Power Private Ltd with the work on Vizhinjam Deep Sea International Transhipment Terminal, near here, Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan said today.

Briefing weekly Cabinet decisions to mediapersons here, he said the Cabinet approved the firm's bid and the proposal would be forwarded to the Centre for security clearance.

The other members of the consortium include Malaysia-based Pembinaan Redzai Sdn Bhd and Lanco Infrastructure Limited, he said.

Of the five companies which submitted bids, the particular consortium had quoted the lowest and its conditions were very much beneficial for the state's interests.

The state government would have 24 per cent stake in the Rs 5,348 crore project which would be implemented through BoT basis, he said and added the term of the BoT would be 30 years.

The project would generate 5,000 direct and 1.5 lakh indirect jobs.

The Chief Minister expressed the hope that the Centre would give its security clearance at the earliest and the first phase of the project completed in three years.

On whether the proposed Kolachal Port would delay the security clearance for the Vizhinjam Port, he said ''we had started the work for the project well ahead of that, and it was because of certain security reasons the Centre rejected the proposal.

''Now the company is from Malaysia and there is no question of raising security reasons to delay the project.'' Though the previous United Democratic Front (UDF) Government led by Mr Oommen Chandy had selected a consortium of two Chinese companies and a Mumbai firm through a global tender, the Centre rejected the proposal citing security reasons saying the firm had business interests in ports of Pakistan.

The major advantage of Vizhinjam Port is it needs no dredging as it has a natural depth of 24 meters, one of the deepest in the world.

Besides, the port lies very close to the international waters.

Regarding certain disputes in settling acquisition process for the land required for rail and road connectivity for the proposed Vallarpadam International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT), he said the issue will be settled by June 31.

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