VISL will soon invite requests for qualification for EPC contract, says Minister

The Expert Appraisal Committee of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests for projects relating to infrastructure development and Coastal Regulation Zone has recommended the accordance of environmental clearance for the Rs.5,000-crore deepwater container transhipment port proposed to be set up at Vizhinjam, near here.

At a press conference here on Tuesday, Ports Minister K. Babu said the State could expect the formal clearance from the Ministry, based on the recommendation of the committee, soon. He said Vizhinjam International Seaports Ltd. (VISL), the government entity overseeing the efforts to set up the project, would immediately invite requests for qualification for the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract and the private player who would operate the port.

The project is designed on the landlord model, under which the basic port infrastructure, estimated at Rs. 2,600 crore, would be the responsibility of the State government and the port superstructure, entailing an investment of Rs. 2,400 crore, of the private player. Mr. Babu said the VISL would submit its application to the Centre for viability gap funding for the project.

Stipulated conditions

The expert committee has stipulated 17 conditions on the project proponent while recommending environmental clearance.

The VISL has been directed to obtain “Consent for Establishment” of the project from the State Pollution Control Board under the Air and Water Act and a copy of the same should be submitted to the Ministry before the start of any construction work on the site.

The VISL has been directed to carry out intensive monitoring of the shoreline changes that the construction of the port might lead to and report the details to the Ministry every six months. The committee said the project proponent should compensate, as per Central and State government norms, the owners of tourist resorts in the project area who would have to be evicted.

The committee has stipulated that the project should be executed in such a manner as to cause minimum disturbance to the fishing activity in the area.

New fish-landing centre

The VISL should develop a new fish-landing centre (in addition to the one existing at Vizhinjam), besides executing the commitments it had given in its proposal with respect to the detailed Resettlement Action Plan and Corporate Social Responsibility.

The report about the committee’s decision was greeted with much celebration in Vizhinjam on Tuesday.evening, with the supporters of the project bursting crackers and distributing sweets.