THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It is now official. Thanks to delays, the phase of the multi-crore Vizhinjam international container transshipment terminal project is getting costlier. The first phase will cost Rs 4,010 crore - Rs 480 crore more than the original estimate.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy announced the new estimates at a post-Cabinet press briefing here on Wednesday. Phase I of the three-phase project, according to the latest schedule announced some months ago, was expected to be commissioned by 2015.
However, the Chief Minister did not say anything about change in schedules. Meantime, the government was yet to take a decision regarding the appointment of private partner for the project, the Chief Minister said.
The major works in the first phase of the project includes construction of 650 metres of quay area, and more importantly, the construction of a 1.5 kilometre-long breakwater to protect the proposed harbour.
At present, the State Government has only one prospective bidder in its kitty. A consortium consisting of Welspun Infratech, Welspun Corporation and Leighton-Welspun Contractors is the only bidder for the port operator’s post with Mundra Ports Pvt Ltd and Special Economic Zone being denied clearance by the Ministry of Home Affairs recently.
The Vizhinjam project is proposed to be implemented on ‘landlord model’ under which the government will own the port infrastructure. The three-season Environment Impact Assessment in the Vizhinjam area, one of the most crucial elements for the project, is currently underway.