Thiruvananthapuram : While making it clear that the proposed Vizhinjam port is a dream project, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Wednesday underlined the need for caution while finalising grant of work related to international tenders.
Observing that “there are lots of ploys adopted by various vested interests when an international tender is floated”, Chandy said: “Once the bids are opened, it’s a common practice that some new company will come forward showing that they are interested.”
He was speaking to reporters here after the customary weekly cabinet meeting.
Chandy’s statement came in response to a question about media reports that a Malaysian company has written to the Kerala government that they are interested in taking up work at the Vizhinjam port, for which the last date of tender was April 24 and there was just one lone bidder in Adani Ports.
“See, there are ploys because in the case of Vizhinjam we have just one bidder. This is the third time that we had invited tenders for our dream Vizhinjam port project. One can understand if they had applied in the first or second or third time.
“We have reached this far surmounting lot of hurdles and we will go ahead.
“The government is committed to this port project and already we have finished two rounds of meetings. Now there are two different committees which will evaluate Adani’s bid,” the chief minister said.
The proposed port, set to come up near the famed Kovalam beach, is expected to be completed in three phases, with the first phase to be ready by 2019.
Once completed, ships with a capacity of even 18,000 TEU (20-feet equivalent units) could dock here. The proposed port, as it is located close to the busy international shipping route, is envisaged to handle 4.1 million containers annually.
Meanwhile, in a related development CPI-M politburo member and former state minister M.A. Baby, on his facebook page, has expressed concern at the development made by the Adani group after the Narendra Modi-led government assumed office at the Centre and has warned that extra caution should be taken while going ahead with the Adani bid.
In Kerala, over the years, it has become a common practice to oppose any major project and the proposed Smart City project at Kochi, which first surfaced in 2004, had to wait 10 years for work to commence. In June, the first phase of the 6.75 lakh square feet building will be opened.