THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State Government on Wednesday appointed a four-member committee to lead the negotiations with Welspun Infratech-led consortium, the lone bidder for the multi-crore Vizhinjam International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT) project.
In February, Welspun had asked the State Government for a grant of ` 479.54 crore for partnering as port operator, an amount which the government is trying to lower through talks.
Top sources said the discussions would be based on advice given by project consultants in the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
“The four-member committee includes the Ports Secretary, Finance Expenditure Secretary, Law Secretary and the Managing Director of the Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd (VISL), the government company overseeing the project,” Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said.
Kerala had floated global tenders for this project thrice, the current one the first after the LDF Government decided to build the port on ‘Landlord Model’ where the port infrastructure is owned by the state.
The port operator would have a concession on it for 30 years. But Kerala was left with just one bidder after the Union Home Ministry denied clearance to Mundra Ports and SEZ.
If talks with Welspun fail, then the state would have to go in for fresh tenders.
Meanwhile, the VISL is going ahead with floating of EPC bids for constructing the port.
VISL also plans to appoint a Chief Financial Officer who would be in charge of fund mobilisation for the project. Phase I would cost `4,010 crore, as per revised estimates.
Of this, the private partner is expected to chip in `970 crore.