THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The ambitious Vizhinjam seaport project cleared a major hurdle on Friday with a high-level panel of the Union Finance Ministry giving in-principle approval for providing central assistance.
The approval for Viability Gap Funding (VGF) for the project has been given by the Empowered Institution under the ministry. The matter will now be taken up by a committee headed by the Finance Secretary. Ports Minister K Babu, confirming that the approval had been given, said that it would boost the prospects of the port project.
Under VGF, the Central Government would provide up to 20 per cent of the project cost. The state government will meet another 20 per cent. The efforts to secure VGF for the Vizhinjam project began during the LDF Government’s tenure. Phase I of the port project is estimated to cost around `6000 crore.
In the meantime, the state government has again postponed the date for opening of bids. The new date is September 10, the Ports Minister said. As per the last schedule, the Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd (VISL) had planned to open the bids on August 20. “The companies that have bid for the project have asked for more time,” Babu said.
Five entities have bid for the project: Gammon Infrastructure Projects Ltd; a consortium of Hyundai and Concast Infratech Ltd; the ESSAR Ports; a consortium of Srei Infrastructure and OHL and Adani Ports.