THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: M V Raghavan, the Communist leader and former minister, died on Sunday with a dream unfulfilled - that of seeing Vizhinjam grow into a major seaport.
It was during his tenure as Ports Minister that global tenders were first floated for this project. But long before all that, as early as 1991, Raghavan had begun the groundwork - creating the required awareness among the people and the media, both in Thiruvananthapuram and outside it.
At press conferences in places like Kochi or further north, Raghavan would wax lyrical about the project. He was also one of the few leaders of those days who actually visited Vizhinjam and spoke to the residents about the port and its possibilities.
‘’He was quite vocal about Vizhinjam at a time when there was no such movement as you see today to make it a reality,’’ recalls Sugunan, party colleague and CMP politburo member. ‘’He was very actively involved in the project. We had organised a meeting in Vizhinjam in 2004 where he came and spoke,’’ remembers Elias John, who now heads the Vizhinjam Motherport Action Council (V-Mac).
The first attempt to find a private player for the project was made when a Hyderabad-based firm signed a deal with the government. But that proposal did not work out. Later, during Raghavan’s tenure as Ports Minister, global tenders were floated for the first time. In fact, that was the first attempt at making this port a reality.
The government accepted two bids, one from Gammon India Ltd and the second from a consortium made up of Indian firm Zoom Developers Pvt Ltd and Chinese firms China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) and Kaidi Electric Power Company. Though the consortium won the deal, the Centre declined security clearance to the Chinese firms forcing the State Government back to square one. Since then, the government has had to float global tenders four more times for this project, the latest one in last December.
MVR Revived Cooperative Sector, says C N Balakrishnan
Thrissur: Paying tribute to M V Raghavan (MVR), who passed away on Sunday, Cooperation Minister C N Balakrishnan credited the former Cooperation Minister with making his department more popular among the masses by launching schemes that benefited common man.
“His wish was that the government should take over the Pariyaram Medical College in the cooperation sector. But as the matter was entangled in several technical issues, the government could not do it before he passed away, and I am deeply regret it,” he said. The minister said it was proud to work with a person like MVR and the late CMP leader was the most respected persons in the state for his contributions to the cooperation sector.