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Achuthanandan Demands White Paper on Vizhinjam Port

V.S. Achuthanandan

Former Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan demanded a white paper on the proposed Vizhinjam Port, saying the agreement is “not in the interest of Kerala”….reports Asian Lite News

V.S. Achuthanandan

Raising the issue through a submission in the state assembly, the veteran CPI-M leader said that just because the previous Oommen Chandy government went ahead and placed this project before Adani Ports, there is need for a re-look at the agreement.

“The Left’s election manifesto ahead of the 2016 assembly polls had said if the Left comes to power the Vizhinjam port agreement would be reconsidered. The agreement is not transparent and not in the interest of Kerala, and hence the government should come out with a white paper on it,” said Achuthanandan.

In reply, State Ports Minister Kadanapally Ramachandran said the state government will look into the issues raised.

The Chandy government in 2015 inked the agreement for the Rs 7,525 crore Vizhinjam project with Adani Ports. Work on the first phase is nearing completion.

Adani Ports was the lone bidder and sought Rs 1,635 crore as grant for the project.

According to the agreement, Adani would operate the port for 40 years, extendable by 20 more years, while the state government would get a portion of the revenue from the port after 15 years of operations.

It is this factor that Achuthanandan has contested. Pinarayi Vijayan after assuming office in May last year had categorically stated that the port project will go forward and there would be no re-visiting of the agreement.

The proposed Vizhinjam Port is to be completed in three phases. Once completed, the port would enable ships with a capacity of even 18,000 TEU (20-feet equivalent units) to dock.

The proposed port, located close to the busy international shipping route, is envisaged to handle 4.1 million containers annually.