Thiruvananthapuram: The Centre will favourably consider Kerala government’s request for relaxation in Cabotage Law for the proposed Vizhinjam International Deepwater Multipurpose Seaport here, Union Minister Milind Deora said here Sunday.
The port project, which recently received clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, would become a leading multi-purpose seaport in the region and place the country in the international maritime map, he said.
The Union minister of state for Shipping, IT and Communications was at Vizhinjam, located about 16 kilometre from here, to release the logo of the lighthouse there as part of the Shipping Ministry’s programme to promote light houses as tourist sites.
“We will favourably consider the state’s request for relaxation in Cabotage Law for the proposed port to make it more viable and investment-friendly. We will surely take up the matter with various stakeholders and other ministries concerned,” he said.
Vallarpadam in Kochi is the only port in the country which enjoys a relaxation in Cabotage Law at present, he said.
On questions about a new shipyard being set up in Kerala, he said the Centre was considering three sites— Vizhinjam, Poovar and Azhikkal—for that project.
Vizhinjam and Poovar were likely to get greater preference because of their favourable geographical factors, he said.
“Vizhinjam has some inherent advantages. It has natural draft. Its location is significant from the point of view of national security and transhipment. The coming up of the shipyard will bring lot of employment for local people,” the minister said.
Considering their fundamental advantages, the ports in southern states were likely to get more share of transhipment in the long run, he added.
Deora said his ministry, in collaboration with Directorate General of Light Houses and Lightships, had identified 15 lighthouses for the promotion of tourism, out of which the work of four had already been started.
“The Vizhinjam Lighthouse will be augmented with a museum, landscaping area, theatre exhibiting the art and culture of the state and a prominent walkway. With the completion of the project, it will become a world class tourist destination,” he added.