THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Alleging corruption in the agreement signed between the previous UDF government and the Adani Group in the Vizhinjam International Seaport project, Administrative Reforms Commission chairman V S Achuthanandan on Monday asked the LDF Government to publish a white paper on the venture.
Making the demand through a submission, he said the LDF had announced earlier the agreement would be overhauled as it went against the interests of the state. Minister for Ports Ramachandran Kadannappally said a decision on the white paper could be taken only after high-level discussions.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala demanded the chair to expunge the corruption allegation from Achuthanandan’s speech, as the UDF would not get a chance to contest it as the matter was raised through a submission. The chair said it would look into it.
According to the veteran CPM leader, the agreement between the state government and Adani Vizhinjam Port Pvt Ltd was heavily loaded in favour of the latter.
He accused the UDF of gifting the project to Gautam Adani for a paltry sum. The state government will have to shell out Rs 5,071 crore, or 68 per cent of the Rs 7,525 crore project. Adani Group will put in only Rs 2,454 crore or 32 per cent. Nonetheless, Adani will enjoy the lion’s share of the revenue and profit, the former Chief Minister alleged.
“The UDF agreement is unclear and mysterious. The people of Kerala have doubts about it. The LDF Government should review it. There is no use saying we are liable to follow the terms and conditions of the agreement. A white paper should be published on the project,” Achuthanandan said.
In 2015, the LDF Opposition had opposed the move and an all-party meeting convened by the then Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was inconclusive after the Left Front stuck to its stand. The UDF Government went ahead with its plans and inked the deal on August 17, 2015.
Work on berths for seaport to begin on June 1
T’PURAM: THE construction of berths for the Vizhinjam international seaport will be kicked off on June 1. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate the piling works for 800 metres of berths to be built as part of phase I of the project.
The construction of berths form one of the two major works being undertaken in the first phase of the four-phase Vizhinjam port project, the other being the construction of the breakwater which is already in progress.
So far, the concessionaire Adani Vizhinjam Port Pvt Ltd (AVPPL) has constructed around 565 metres of the 3.1 km breakwater. Earlier this year, the Adani Group had entrusted the construction of berths to Afcons Infrastructure Ltd. The Adani Group and the state had inked the concession agreement on the Vizhinjam project on August 17, 2015.
The construction was inaugurated on December 5 the same year. Ports Minister Ramachandran Kadannapally informed the Assembly on Monday commercial operations are expected to begin at the port on December 4, 2019.