Chandy calls for all-party meet over Vizhinjam port

 Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Wednesday called for an all-party meet on June 3 to clear doubts over the government's decision to hand over construction of the proposed Vizhinjam port to Adani Ports.

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Wednesday called for an all-party meet on June 3 to clear doubts over the government's decision to hand over construction of the proposed Vizhinjam port to Adani Ports.

The chief minister's move came in the wake of the CPI-M in Kerala airing apprehensions over the way the Kerala government took the decision. 

"The empowered committee and the board of the directors of the proposed Vizhinjam port had cleared the project to be handed over to Adani Ports. And, with just the cabinet clearance to be made, at today's cabinet meeting, we decided to hold an all-party meeting to discuss all issues following the CPI-M raising the issue," Chandy said.

Last month, after three rounds of inviting tenders, only Adani Ports turned up and with this being the dream project of the state, the Chandy government decided to proceed with it.

"We are going for the all-party meet with an open mind and we are prepared to clarify all issues. It's strange that the CPI-M says that there is a corruption of Rs.6,000 crore," Chandy said. 

"We are baffled because the project cost is only Rs.6,700 crore. We are prepared to explain everything but if they continue to feign ignorance, then nothing can be done," he added.

The Rs.4,000-crore first phase of the port is to come up near the famed Kovalam beach. It is expected to be completed in three phases, with the first phase to be ready by 2019.

Adani Ports was the lone bidder and had sought Rs.1,635 crore as grant for the proposed port project.

Last month, this became the first port project in the country to get a Rs.800 crore viability gap funding from the central government.

Once completed, the ships with a capacity of even 18,000 TEU (20-feet equivalent units) could dock here.

The proposed port, located close to the busy international shipping route, is envisaged to handle 4.1 million containers annually. 

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