THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A final decision on handing over the Vizhinjam seaport project to Adan group will be delayed further. Coming under severe criticism and corruption charges from various corners, Wednesday’s Cabinet decided to convene an all-party meet on June 3 to discuss different aspects of the project.
Last week, the Empowered Committee and the Director Board of Vizhinjam project had decided to accept the lone bid by Adani group for construction and operation of the project.
A final call on accepting the tender was expected to be taken in Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting. Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan, CPM politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan, state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and former port ministers M Vijayakumar and Surendran Pillai had come out against accepting the bid.
Announcing the decision, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the government wants Vizhinjam seaport project to be implemented in a transparent manner. He added that the government would go for a pragmatic approach.
‘’Vizhinjam is Kerala’s dream project. Due to many reasons it got delayed for
sometime. Now, we want the project to become a reality as soon as possible, that too in a transparent manner. But, there were corruption charges and allegations raised from certain quarters. Corruption charges to the tune of Rs 6000 crore were raised in a project where the project cost is around Rs 6700 crore. That’s why an all-party meet is being called. Representatives of all political parties would be called to the meet, to be convened on June 3 at 11.30 a.m.,’’ he said adding that the all-party meet is being convened with an open mind.
The all-party meet will discuss various aspects of the project, including earlier decisions in this regard and concerns raised from certain quarters. The attempt is to address the misunderstandings and convince them about the project through talks, said Chandy.
The follow up proceedings regarding the port project would be taken up only after the all-party meeting. In an apparent reference to corruption charges raised by the CPM, Chandy said most of the allegations are baseless. The previous LDF Government had also followed the same procedures and steps, Chandy said.
Asked about the previous Congress-led UPA Government at the Centre denyingclearance to Adani group, Chandy said that time clearance was not given due to reports about some Chinese participation and related security aspects.