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Homechevron_rightKeralachevron_rightGovt won’t drop...

Govt won’t drop Vizhinjam project: Minister Kadannappally Ramachandran

Govt won’t drop Vizhinjam project: Minister Kadannappally Ramachandran

Thiruvananthapuram: Ports Minister Kadannappally Ramachandran on Friday said that the LDF government would not drop the Vizhinjam International Seaport project, despite a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on alleged lapses by the previous government in award of the Rs 7,525 crore project to Adani group.

“The government can’t drop the project. We will examine the matters pointed out by the CAG. A discussion will be held with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan before taking further steps,” Ramachandran said, adding the berth piling for the project would be inaugurated by the Chief Minister on June 1.

The CAG had observed that Keralas interests were not protected in the agreement with the Adani Groups and SEZ Private Ltd for the development of Vizhinjam International Seaport.

In its report, the CAG said the 10-year extension of the construction period given to the Adani Group was illegal and through this, the group would earn an undue profit of Rs 29,217 crore.

The agreement with the state government also included a clause of giving an extension by 20 years. Recently, Administrative Reforms Commission Chairman V S Achuthanandan had strongly criticised the agreement.

For the Rs 7,525 crore-Vizhinjam Port, 67 percent of the project expense is born by the state government. Adani spends only 33 percent. However, once the agreement period ends, Adani will be able to make huge profit and the state will be left with no profit but additional liabilities.

The port, being developed under public-private-partnership (PPP), is one of the ambitious projects of the state. The transshipment hub, on completion, would cater to the largest mother vessels with a capacity of 18,000 TEU.

Earlier, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had on Wednesday told the state assembly that the CAG report was "extremely serious."

"The report needs to be examined seriously," Vijayan told the state assembly during the question hour.

Further steps have to be taken with regard to the CAG report, he had said.

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