Kerala inks pact with Adani for Vizhinjam port project

Kerala inks pact with Adani  for Vizhinjam port project

The Kerala government on Monday inked a concession agreement with the Adani Vizhinjam Ports Ltd (AVPL) on the proposed Vizhinjam International Multipurpose Deepwater Seaport marking a formal take-off for the controversial project, two decades after it was proposed.

The agreement was signed by Principal Secretary of Ports James Varghese and AVPL CEO Santosh Kumar Mohapatra in the presence of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Adani Group Chairman Gautam S Adani and ministers, at a function at the state secretariat here.

While the Congress-led state government pitched the project as a key achievement — the project had failed to take off following recurring political controversies — the CPM-led opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) boycotted the function citing differences over financial components of the project. The project in its first phase comes at an estimated cost of Rs 7,525 crore. The construction work is scheduled to commence on November 1, the Kerala Formation Day. Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd,  a state-owned special purpose company will be the implementing agency of the project. The seaport will be developed on a landlord model with a Public Private Partnership component. The concessionaire will build and operate the project that is set to transform the Vizhinjam port, about 16 km from here, into a transhipment hub.

Speaking after signing of the concession agreement, Oommen Chandy said the government will make all efforts to remove “misunderstandings” on the project and ensure that it will not trigger adverse social or environmental consequences. Gautam Adani said the promoters will try to make the seaport one of the world’s largest transhipment hubs and make it operational in less than 1,000 days.

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