Minister for Ports, Sports and Parliamentary Affairs M. Vijayakumar has said that the State government will host a global meet for ensuring successful launching of the proposed project for developing the Azhikkal port here.

Inaugurating a seminar on the Azhikkal port development organised here on Sunday by the North Malabar Chamber of Commerce (NMCC) in association with the Press Club here, the Minister said the final report of the consultant appointed by the government for studying the feasibility of the port development would be submitted this month. The government would go for a global tender in two months after the final report was submitted, he said. The Minister added that the government would go ahead with the port development works as a private-public partnership (PPP) project in the next three months if it could find a suitable private partner.

Mr. Vijayakumar said that the present government had initiated unprecedented steps to ensure infrastructural facilities including road and rail connectivity and water and electricity supply to the port. The government had already spent over Rs. 20 crore in the past four years for developmental activities in the Azhikkal port including the ongoing construction of the new wharf.

Announcing that the Port Department had fulfilled all the demands of the Lakshadweep Administration for arranging certain facilities for the exclusive use by vessels to and from the Lakshadweep Islands, Mr. Vijayakumar said vessels from the islands would soon conduct a trial run in the basin at Azhikkal. Hectic efforts were on by the government for the port's development under the PPP, he added.

Announcing that the government was planning improved port and coastal amenities for comprehensive development, Mr. Vijayakumar said that the Azhikkal port is one of the six among 17 notified ports in the State identified for development.

When there had been a proposal for its development under the National Maritime Development Scheme, the State government submitted a detailed project and waited for two years. He said he himself had taken personal interest for the port's development. The Central government, however, had ruled out the proposal for development of the port, the Minister said adding that the State government had subsequently decided to develop the port as a PPP project.

The Minister said that the development of the Azhikkal port would accelerate the development of the entire Malabar region. The government had now greater awareness of the urgency to develop the port, he added.

NMCC president B. Maheshchandra Baliga presided over the function. M. Prakashan, MLA, was also present at the seminar.

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