Starting Work on Vizhinjam: Govt Likely to Miss Deadline
By Express News Service | Published: 30th July 2014 08:03 AM |
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Indications are that the State Government will have to re-work schedules announced for the Vizhinjam seaport project yet again. Ports Minister K Babu had announced in the Assembly recently that work on Phase I would be started by December 2014, but this deadline would be given a miss in all likelihood.
The hearings on petitions filed against the project before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) are only mid-way through.
Also, it is understood that some of the bidders have sought extension of the bid-opening date. Recently, the NGT had issued orders transferring the case from the Chennai Bench to the Principal Bench in New Delhi. The Principal Bench is set to hear the case on August 21. As per the latest schedule, the State Government and its company Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd (VISL) are planning to open the bids on August 20.
“Our side of the work is done. We have conducted two pre-bid meetings and provided the clarifications sought for by bidders. But we will have to comply if they ask for an extension,” VISL CEO A S Suresh Babu said.
“Right now, we are moving ahead with the earlier decision to open bids on August 20,” he said.
Five firms/consortiums are in the fray for the project: Gammon Infrastructure Projects Ltd; a consortium of Hyundai and Concast Infratech Ltd; the ESSAR Ports; a consortium of Srei Infrastructure and OHL and, lastly, Adani Ports.
When floating the global tenders for the construction of the port and selection of private partner in December, 2013, the government had announced that both contracts would be awarded by May this year. Later, the EPC and PPP contracts were clubbed. In May, the deadline for the opening of the bids was extended to June 18, and later to July. As per the latest modification, the bids are to be opened on August 20.