Thiruvananthapuram: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Thursday welcomed Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy's decision to go ahead with the Vizhinjam port project despite "baseless objections" by the opposition, and urged the government to finalise the decision on awarding the contract in the next cabinet meeting.
Adani Ports has been the lone bidder and has sought Rs.1,635 crore as grant for the proposed port project.
"As the decision is the result of an ongoing process and the sustained efforts of several years, I am hopeful that the election code of conduct will not prevent this," Tharoor said here on Thursday.
"The Vizhinjam port's board had unanimously upheld the bid in its meeting held on May 13 and ideally the decision should have been finalised in the next cabinet meeting itself, considering the importance of this project.
"But instead, it was decided to postpone the decision till after the all-party meeting to build a consensus on the decision," he said.
Tharoor said that in keeping with the best international practices, the decision on awarding the contract should have been taken within 30 days from opening the bid.
An all-party meeting held here on Wednesday failed to evolve a consensus with the opposition Left Front raising certain objections, which Chandy said were not tenable and lacked any logical reasoning.
"Unfortunately, despite knowing that Vizhinjam is a path-breaking project for the development of Thiruvananthapuram and is of significant economic importance to the state and the nation, the opposition have played into the hands of the anti-Vizhinjam interests," Tharoor said.
The Lok Sabha member from Thiruvananthapuram said that, according to information he has received, and which has now been repeated publicly by Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari, "any further delay would result in the transfer of this project to Colachel in Tamil Nadu".
"If that occurs, it would be a terrible injustice to the people of Thiruvananthapuram, who have eagerly waited for the fulfilment of this project for 25 long years."
Tharoor said he failed to see why some people were opposing the selection of the Adani Group, who has already bagged a contract to implement the City Gas Distribution (CGD) project in Kochi and whose work has already begun.
Those who oppose the selection after an open, transparent and fair tender process should explain why a particular individual is acceptable for Kochi's development but not for Thiruvananthapuram, he said.