Coming out against the PPP model for the Vizhinjam seaport project, the City Corporation has called the move a method of “handing over the sea on a platter” to private players. Mayor K Chandrika, in a press conference held here on Monday, demanded that the government should drop the model and go in for the landlord model proposed earlier and allay the fears of residents.
“After getting environmental clearance, the project was looked upon with great expectations by us. Now the model with more private participation is being endorsed by the government. When the project started in 1991, the outlay was Rs 2,400 crore in landlord model, and in 2013 after the tender document was out, the amount shot up to Rs 3,640 crore and the latest estimate is Rs 5,250 crore,” said Chandrika.
The previous LDF government had decided that the Vizhinjam project should be carried out in landlord model and tender procedures were announced for the implementation of this model. But in a letter sent to the Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission in 2013, the Chief Minister himself demanded to reconstitute the project in PPP model. Thus, the project consultants Aecom was told to restructure the project based on that. From the four models they suggested, the fourth one, which has a heavy private participation, was chosen to be implemented, Chandrika said.
“The tender was cancelled in 2012 citing that none turned up to spend Rs 970 crore. This is an attempt to show that no investor turned up for the project,” she said. For landlord port, port administration, nautical management, nautical infrastructure and port infrastructure have to come under the ownership of the government. According to the Mayor, the model which is not along these lines would be betraying the people and the government should intervene in the demands placed by the Vizhinjam Mother Port Action Council (V-MAC).