''Attempt to deny environmental clearance to Vizhinjam serious''

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 16 (PTI) Kerala Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan today said the state government would"seriously view" reports that the Union Environment Ministrywas trying to deny clearance to the Vizhinjam seaport project.

"There appears to be an attempt to thwart the project inthe name of nearby Colachel port in Tamil Nadu. This will beviewed seriously and necessary steps taken to counter themove," Achuthanandan told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

He said the cabinet today approved the short list ofpre-qualified bidders and their Request For Proposal (RFP).

The government had identified the area of implementationof the project at Vizhinjam near here and started acquiringland for construction activities. Steps were being finalisedto begin construction, the Chief Minister said.

The state proposed to spend Rs 450 crore to set upinfrastructure facilities for the project. A Memorandum ofUnderstanding had been signed with a consortium led by StateBank of Travancore for securing funds for the project''simplementation, he said.

The cabinet also approved the new lease deed signed withDubai-based TECOM for setting up the ambitious Smart Cityproject at Kochi, the Chief Minister said.

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