Vizhinjam International Seaport Limited (VISL) will hold negotiations with Welspun Infratech Limited (India) on Wednesday on the question whether the consortium led by it could scale down its bid for taking up the port operator’s role at the proposed port.

Welspun’s executives are coming for the negotiation responding to an invitation from the VISL last week. The only bidder for the project, the consortium had quoted a grant of Rs.479.54 crore, to be given over a period of 16 years, from the State government for being the operator of the Rs.4,010-crore project.

The basic infrastructure is the State government’s responsibility, while the superstructure of the port has to be built by the port operator investing an estimated sum of Rs.970 crore. The project, conceived along the landlord model, will vest with the government free of all encumbrances after 30 years.

A top official of the VISL said the negotiation committee of the government would place before the Empowered Committee headed by the Chief Secretary any new offer the consortium might make. The Empowered Committee would evaluate the likely proposal and submit its recommendation to the Council of Minister’s for a decision.

In the absence of a second bid, the State government had been finding it difficult to take a decision on awarding the tender. The financial advisors for this project had pointed out the advantages of having the port operator in place early. But there is also an opinion that the government could go for a re-tender. A meeting of the board of directors of the VISL had decided to call Welspun for negotiation before finalising what to do.

Keywords: Vizhinjam port