The Kerala government has accepted the bid by private multi-port operator Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) to build its prestigious Rs 7,525-crore Vizhinjam International multi-purpose seaport. A formal announcement on the Vizhinjam seaport is to be made by the government, which will be done after seeking the permission of the Election Commission (EC) in view of the code of conduct that is in force for the June 27 by-election to the Aruvikkara assembly constituency in the capital district, official sources said.
Adani Group was the lone bidder for the project, which had no takers in the previous rounds of tendering. Last week, the government had convened an all-party meeting after the Opposition raised doubts about the PPP model and hurled corruption charges at the government.
The CPI(M) had alleged that the government was handing over land worth Rs 6,000 crore to Adani Group. The CPI(M) had questioned the government’s reluctance to go for a re-tendering of the project when Adani Group was the lone bidder.
Meanwhile, Union shipping minister Nitin Gadkari had stated that the project might be moved to Colachel in Tamil Nadu if the political differences in the state over awarding the project to the Adani group is not resolved fast. The Union Minister’s stand also prompted the Kerala Government not to delay the final decision.
The government was of the opinion that if not now, the project would never come up. The project had no takers despite several rounds of bidding coupled with promotional activities. First phase of the project would cost Rs 7,525 crore. Of this, Adani Group would invest Rs 2,454 crore and has sought a grant of Rs 1635 crore from state and central governments.
APSEZ — India’s biggest private port operating firm — had submitted the bid on April 24 and sought Rs 1,635 crore as grant. The board of the special purpose vehicle set up for executing the project — Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd — accepted the bid, which was ratified by an empowered committee headed by the chief secretary. Subsequently, the bid was referred to the state Cabinet for final approval.