THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A high-level state government panel on Thursday gave the go-ahead for awarding the contract for the Vizhinjam seaport project to Adani Ports, the lone bidder.
The Empowered Committee headed by Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson recommended that the Adani Group’s proposal seeking a government grant of Rs 1635 crore for the project should be accepted. With this, Adani has scaled the first hurdle in winning the contract for constructing and operating the port. The committee’s recommendation will now go to the board of the Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd (VISL), the government port company chaired by the Chief Minister which is in charge of the project, on May 13. The final decision on the award of contract will be taken by the Cabinet.
One issue that was extensively studied by the committee was the legal implications of entertaining a single bid. The committee arrived at the conclusion that it should not pose a problem. It had sought the opinion of the Law Department and the Store Purchases Department in this regard. The committee also examined the opinions of HSA Advocates, the legal advisors for the project and the bid evaluation report submitted by Ernst & Young, the project’s financial and transaction advisors.
Additional Chief Secretary K M Abraham and Law Secretary B G Hareendranath and VISL CEO A S Suresh Babu were among the top officials who attended Thursday’s meeting. The first phase of the multi-purpose seaport project is expected to cost Rs 7525 cr. The PPP portion amounts to Rs 4089 cr.