Former chief minister Oommen Chandy today said he takes full responsibility for inking of the Vizhinjam port project agreement after the state government said it is mulling ordering a judicial probe into it in the light of the CAG findings. The Rs 7,525 crore multi-purpose seaport project had got a push after the Chandy government came to power in 2011. With the Comptroller and Auditor General stating in a report that Kerala’s interests had not been protected in the project, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said his government is contemplating ordering a judicial probe by a High Court Judge. Claiming that he is prepared to face any enquiry into it, Chandy said, “The agreement was signed after following all procedures.”
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If the agreement had not been inked, Colachel port in neighbouring Tamil Nadu would have come up and the Vizhinjam port project would not have become a reality, he said, adding no official would be made a scapegoat.The agreement was signed with Gujarat-based Adani group under PPP route on Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer Basis (DBFOT). The CAG had in a report on Public Sector Undertakings for the financial year which ended on March 2016, tabled in the assembly recently, pointed out lapses on the part of the state government while signing the agreement for the project.
The technical and financial estimates prepared by external consultants were not scrutinised with due diligence resulting in inflation of cost estimates, the report had said. It had also said the the state government’s interests were not protected adequately while drawing up the concession agreement. Meanwhile, Kerala Congress vice president V D Sateeshan has written to the party’s state unit chief M M Hassan, saying that the party should discuss the CAG report. The opposition leader in the assembly, Ramesh Chennithala said there was nothing wrong in discussing the issue in the party.