THIRUVANATHAPURAM: Fugro Geotech, Mumbai, will conduct the crucial geotechnical studies in offshore Vizhinjam for the multi-crore international seaport project. A board meeting of the Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd (VISL) held on Monday gave the go-ahead to Fugro.
The study will include primarily seabed soil survey and investigation based on which several factors such as the volume of dredging needed can be determined, VISL CEO and Ports Secretary Sanjeev Kaushik has said. It is also essential to finalise the project cost for inviting the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) bid for selecting a contractor for port construction. Fugro has been asked to complete the study in two months, as the State Government and VISL need the Fugro report for inviting the EPC bids. Besides, the study would prove difficult once the south-west monsoon sets in over Kerala. ‘’Royal Haskoning, the technical consultants of the project, too can finalise the technical cost of the project only after Fugro submits its report,’’ Kaushik said.
The State Government is planning to reclaim 110 hectares of land from the sea to construct the port proper. A portion of the reclaimed land will be filled conventionally with soil while the remaining area, that houses the quays, will be a platform-like area resting on piles driven into the seabed. Bathymetry - measurement of the sea depth - and other preliminary work in this regard has been completed. The Fugro study will also prove critical in getting environmental clearance for the project from the Ministry of Environment and Forests. Alongside the efforts to identify a private partner to operate the port - 14 companies have bid - the government is also moving ahead with the EPC bids to select a firm to construct the port. Monday’s VISL board meeting chaired by Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan approved the launch of the EPC bid.