THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Cabinet will decide on the selection of the Welspun consortium as the private partner for the multi-crore Vizhinjam international container transshipment terminal project, Ports Minister K Babu has said. He was speaking to reporters here on Tuesday after inaugurating an artificial reef project of the Kerala State Coastal Area Development Corporation Ltd (KSCADC) to enhance fish population in the coastal waters off southern Thiruvananthapuram.
(After the Home Ministry denied clearance to Mundra Porta and SEZ, the consortium of Welspun Infratech, Welspun Corp and Leighton India remains the sole bidder. In its financial bid, the consortium has asked for ` 470 crore as grant from the State Government. The Government, reportedly, is planning talks with the consortium)
Babu also pointed out that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the project was never taken up during the tenure of the LDF government. It was the UDF that launched the EIA, which is now underway. Decreasing fish resources in the Kerala waters have prompted the KSCADC to establish artificial reefs off the coasts of Puthiyathura, Karimkulam and Poovar.
Under the scheme, 360 artificial reefs - triangular concrete modules - will be dropped in the sea. The reefs will provide a favourable habitat for microscopic planktonic organisms which are the prime food of fishes. In time, the reefs would develop into feeding and breeding grounds for various types of fishes. This would help the fishing communities in the region which depend on the coastal waters for their livelihood.