Vizhinjam Port Plan Clears Green Hurdle

The first phase of the project, for which an MoEF panel gave its clearance, is expected to be operational in four years

Published: 04th December 2013 08:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th December 2013 08:52 AM   |  A+A-

The project to establish a multi-crore International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT) at Vizhinjam cleared a major hurdle on Tuesday with an expert panel of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) giving the nod for environmental and CRZ clearance for Phase I.

The decision of the MoEF’s Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) has cleared the path for Kerala to construct the port whose Phase I is expected to cost around `5,000 crore.

On Wednesday morning, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will float global tenders for the construction of the port and the selection of a private partner for running it, Ports Minister K Babu said here on Tuesday.

The entire project is planned on ‘Landlord Model’ in three phases. The first phase is expected to be operational in four years. The government will have to obtain separate environmental clearances for phases II and III.

‘’The Chief Minister will upload the Request for Quotations (RFQ) for the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) bid and the bid for the private partner at 11 am on Wednesday on the website of the Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd (VISL),’’ Babu said.

Union Minister of State Shashi Tharoor described the potential of this project as ‘’colossal.’’

‘’L&T-Ramboll conducted the environment impact assessment and the report was submitted along with related documents to EAC in August after a public hearing in June,’’ A S Suresh Babu, CEO of Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd, said.

T’Puram: Of the `5,000 crore needed for Phase I, `1,600 crore will be spent on construction of breakwater, berths and subsidiary facilities coming under the EPC tender, `1,000 crore will be spent on land acquisition and the remaining `2,400 crore is part of the PPP tender for port operator.

The EAC has set 17 conditions for granting environmental/Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance. These include carrying out ‘intensive monitoring’ of shoreline changes and submitting periodical reports to the MoEF and ensuring that the port construction causes ‘minimum disturbance’ to fishing activity.  The state government has to spend `48.4 crore on CSR and a compensation package for the fisheries sector.

The progress

■ October, 2010: LDF Government decides to construct the port on ‘Landlord Model’

■ June, 2011: MoEF approves Terms of Reference for Environmental Impact Assessment and EIA launched

■ August, 2012: The UDF Government scraps lone bid by Welspun Infratech for the post of port operator

■ December, 2012: EIA study completed

■ June 31, 2013: Public hearing conducted at Vizhinjam

■ August 31, 2013: Submits 4000-page documents  to the EAC for approval

■ December 3, 2013: EAC gives approval

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