THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Work on one of the biggest and toughest components of the Rs 7,525 crore Vizhinjam seaport project - the 3.1 km breakwater - is yet to resume in earnest after being affected by Ockhi cyclone last November. Problems with the procurement of rocks are being cited as one of the chief reasons for the current delay in the resumption of work, sources said.According to the state government, December 4, 2019, is the deadline for starting commercial operations from the port.
Although the Adani Group, the concessionaire of the multi-crore project, had announced plans to procure rock from Kollam and Kanyakumari district in Tamil Nadu, the consignments have not started arriving yet. By September last, construction of around 650 metres had been completed, but the North-east monsoons followed by the Ockhi disaster had hit work.
Around 80 lakh tonnes of rock are required to complete the project which is dubbed as one of the toughest reakwater engineering projects ndertaken in India. One of three major works in phase I of the Rs 7,525 crore port project, the construction of the breakwater was started in April 2016. In the aftermath of the Ockhi cyclone, the Adani Group had informed the state government saying that the work was hit.
Vizhinjam Adani Port Pvt Ltd CEO Santosh Mohapatra was not available for comment. K Jayakumar, CEO of Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd (VISL), the state government company overseeing the project, said the Adani Group is working out the modalities for procurement of rock from Kollam and Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari district to resume work on the breakwater project. “Modifications are being made at the Kollam port to enable smooth loading of the rock,” Jayakumar said.
In 2016, a reported move by Adani to replace rocks with the sheet-piling technology had kicked up a row on account of its adverse impact on the marine environment. In October, work got hit at the project site for over ten days after the local residents complained the drilling of piles had damaged their houses.
A strong structure
According to the concession agreement between the Adani Group and the Kerala government in 2015, the breakwater should have a total length of 3.1 km. This will create a tranquil harbour basin so the ships can moor safely. Atop the breakwater, there will be a road having a width of 10 metres. Also, the massive structure should be able to withstand a ‘minimum significant wave’ of 4.7 metres in height.