THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:With the all-party meet to discuss the controversies surrounding the Vizhinjam seaport project scheduled on June 3, the Left parties and the BJP are getting ready with the suggestions to be put forth at the meet. Since chances are less for the parties to demand re-tendering, most probably attempts will be to modify the conditions in the agreement with the bidder.
The LDF, which will meet this weekend, will take a call on the Left stand in the Vizhinjam issue. “The LDF meeting, which will be held on June 30 and 31, will discuss the issue in detail and the collective stand to be taken at the all-party meeting. We have already made clear that it should be transparent and the state’s interests should be protected,” said CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.
Meanwhile, former port minister and CPM leader M Vijayakumar alleged an attempt to sabotage the project. Contrary to an earlier decision, the UDF government went for public-private-partnership for the project, which was against the state’s interests, he said.
“The previous LDF government had a clear decision on the Vizhinjam project. It was decided that construction should be by the state government and tenders were invited for operation and maintenance of the project. Two bidders, including Mundra port group led by Adani ports, was identified and it was the then Congress-led UPA government that denied clearance to Mundra ports. Later, two years after the current UDF government took over, the chief minister took a decision to go for PPP,” M Vijayakumar said.
While across the country, the project implementation period is 30 years, here the government has agreed for a 40-year period, which is similar to completely handing over the project to a private player. “And then, there’s a 20-year negotiation period also. It will be similar to the Mullaperiyar agreement,” he said.
Since the state and central governments were providing Viability Gap Funding (VGF) for the project in addition to developing port infrastructure and associated facilities, the project should be in a more transparent manner, he added.