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Poovar Shipyard Project in Cold Storage

In August 2011, the state government was asked to come up with a proposal to set up a ‘Major Port-cum-Ship Building Centre’ in the state. In October 2011, Cochin Shipyard Ltd was tasked with conducting a study to identify suitable locations for ‘Greenfield Shipyard’.

Published: 18th March 2016 03:37 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th March 2016 03:37 AM   |  A+A-

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state government which claims credit for the multi-crore Vizhinjam International Seaport project has shown a lackadaisical attitude towards the proposed Greenfield Shipyard at Poovar in the capital, five years after the Centre first mooted the idea.

It was in August 2011 that the then Union Shipping Secretary K Mohandas asked the state government to come up with a proposal to set up a ‘Major Port-cum-Ship Building Centre’ in the state. In October 2011, Cochin Shipyard Ltd was tasked with conducting a study to identify suitable locations for establishing the ‘Greenfield Shipyard’ with facilities for building and repair of large ships.

Cochin Shipyard Ltd, which submitted the report to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in December 2011 proposed Vizhijam, and Poovar (both in Thiruvananthapuram) and Azheekal (in Kannur) as the locations. With an international seaport project already proposed at Vizhijam and an expert committee ruling that Azheekal was not feasible for the project, Poovar emerged as the favourite choice.

Why Poovar?

According to experts, Poovar has a natural depth of 30 metres and is situated barely ten nautical miles (18.5 km) from the international shipping route, besides a wide beach spread over two kilometres. Availability of government-owned land to the tune of over 200 acres at Poovar also makes it an ideal location as the need for land acquisition would be minimal.

The project location would only be 10 km from Vizhinjam mother port. Also, the availability of fresh water from Neyyar nearby is an added attraction.  According to Amaladasan Pereira of Thiruvananthapuram Coastal View, an organisation which spearheaded a campaign for the port, the Centre first mooted the idea in 2011 realising the immense potential of Poovar.

“The works on Vizhijam International Seaport is progressing at a fast pace and soon, huge ships would dock there. The presence of a ship repair facility at Poovar nearby will offer immense opportunity for the state’s economic development,” he added.

Government’s  Lackadaisical Attitude

In February 2014, the then Director of Ports Jacob Thomas wrote to the government requesting that steps be initiated for setting up a shipyard at Poovar. With the government turning a deaf ear, the then Director of Ports P I Sheikh Pareeth shot off another letter in November 2014 reminding the government of the study report by  Cochin Shipyard Ltd which was submitted three years ago.

The letter urged the government to initiate steps to set up a Greenfield Shipyard at Poovar and to obtain the necessary clearances from the Central Government. The government sat over the two letters.

In April 2015, the Cochin Shipyard admitted that subsequent to the submission of the location study report, two meetings were held by the state government which turned to be ‘inconclusive’.

“No further instructions have been received from the state government on the matter of setting up a shipyard in the state,” it stated.

Deadlines Extended

In July 2015, Ports Minister K Babu told the Assembly  that the Poovar Shipyard project would be ‘considered’ after the construction work of Vizhinjam International Seaport commences.

“After the construction work commenced, the government further shifted the goalpost by claiming that the Shipyard project would be considered only after the rehabilitation and other issues in connection with Vizhinjam Seaport Project are settled. We suspect the government is under pressure from resort lobbies in Poovar and has hence put the project in the cold storage,” Amaladasan alleged.

Thiruvananthapuram Coastal View has urged the UDF, LDF and BJP to spell out their stance on the proposed Poovar Shipyard project and has also urged the political fronts to include it in the manifesto for the upcoming Assembly election.Project Docked

Project Put on the Backburner

  • Central Govt writes to the state in 2011
  • Cochin Shipyard tasked with identifying locations
  • Vizhijam, Poovar and Azheekal proposed
  • Govt sitting on study report for over five years

Advantage Poovar

  • Poovar has a natural depth of up to 30 metres
  • Situated 18.5 km from the international shipping route
  • Wide beach spread over two kilometres
  • Availability of 200 acres of government-owned
  • Project location 10 km from Vizhinjam mother port
  • Availability of fresh water from Neyyar


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