With a few technical corrections required, the draft was sent back for modifications and was likely to be submitted in its final shape in less than 15 days.

Work on the Valiathura fishing harbour project is seeing some progress with L&T Ramboll, the agency contracted to do the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) expected to submit the final report in two weeks. Official sources said the firm had presented its draft report earlier this month before the Harbour Engineering Department. With a few technical corrections required, the draft was sent back for modifications and was likely to be submitted in its final shape in less than 15 days.

Once the EIA was submitted, the same would be forwarded to the State government for final environment clearance. The project, being for a harbour with a less than 10,000-tonne fish catch capacity, would require only State clearance and not Central clearance on environmental matters, officials said.

The Centre had agreed to fund 75 per cent of the cost of the project, for which a revised project report would be submitted shortly. Administrative sanction from the State government was expected before December this year. The original project report had pegged the cost at Rs.64 crore, but the same now had escalated to above Rs.80 crore, officials said, adding that once the administrative sanction came from the State, work would begin on the project, most probably before March 2014.

“The procedural bottlenecks have been sorted out and since the final EIA is expected in two weeks, we will be pushing for the State’s administrative sanction before December. Plans are to commence work before the end of this financial year,” Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar, who is the in-charge Minister for the district and a campaigner for the project, said.

The Valiathura fishing harbour was hanging in the balance. The impediment was the delay in getting land from the Ports Department. That issue, sources said, had been resolved.

The detailed project report, officials added, had incorporated protective measures including installation of T-groynes to prevent shore erosion, of which fears were raised from different quarters.