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    State hopeful of getting relaxation in cabotage law for Vizhinjam project

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    State hopeful of getting relaxation in cabotage law for Vizhinjam project
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    Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Tuesday expressed hope that Centre would relax cabotage law for multi-crore Vizhinjam International Deepwater Seaport project planned near here.

    "The response of the Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari was very positive when the matter was brought before him, Chandy told reporters at New Delhi after a meeting with the Union Minister.

    The much awaited project had met with a hurdle with no companies submitting final bid for taking up the contract for its construction and operation as last date for the bidding ended last month citing disadvantages of cabotage law.

    Chandy said as part of government's committment to materialise the project, it would hold pre-bid discussion with the five companies that qualified for the contract in Mumbai on March 9.

    Vizhinjam Seaport International Ltd (VSP), the special purpose vehicle set up for implemetig the project, had extended tender process for one more month.

    The contract is for building port superstructure, estimated to cost of Rs.6000 crore, and operate the port for a period of 40 years.

    Five major port operating companies have qualified for submitting tenders after global tender floated by Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd.

    Discussion on the development of National Highways in the state were also held, Chandy said. It has decided to start the work of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Alappuzha by-passes, he said.

    A package for revival of public sector FACT at Kochi would get clearance from Centre soon, he said.

    Answering a question, Chandy said state's consistent stand on the private International Airport proposed at Arnmula in Pathanamthitta district was that state would not oppose if the promoters come up with necessary Centre clearance for the project.

    The project had ran into trouble after National Green Tribunal denied permission and also due to protest from local environmentalists holding that Airport, promoted by KGS group, would adversely affect ecology and environment in the area.

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