Berths for Navy, Coast Guard, cruise ships part of project
The first stage of the Vizhinjam International Seaport will have berthing facilities not only for big container ships, but for the Indian Navy and the Coastguard, besides a cruise terminal, Ports Minister K. Babu has said.
Addressing a press conference here on Thursday after the Chief Minister had released the master plan for the project and its detailed project report, Mr. Babu said the first stage would involve the construction of a breakwater stretching a length of 3,030 metres.
Two mammoth container ships of 18,000 teu (twenty-foot equivalent units) would be able to anchor at the 800-metre-long berth to be built for transhipment vessels.
The Minister said the Indian Navy and the Coastguard wanted to have their bases at the port because of Vizhinjam’s strategic location at the southern end of the subcontinent.
The master plan had provided for a 500-metre-long berth for the Navy and a 120-metre one for the Coastguard. The berth for cruise vessels would be 300 metres long and it would also receive small cargo vessels.
Facilities for fishermen
“The port will bring additional facilities for the fishermen of the area. A 500-metre-long berth for them to moor their fishing boats will come up outside the port on the northern side,” the Minister said.
The Ports Minister said the Vizhinjam International Seaport Limited (VISL), the government entity in charge of the project, would be spending for the people of Vizhinjam five per cent of the investment on basic port infrastructure. In the first stage of the project, the VISL would spend Rs.140 crore on ‘corporate social responsibility’ ventures, which included Rs.40 crore on programmes to mitigate the environmental and social impacts of the project.
The State government had also launched a drinking water project to give piped water supply to 50,000 people in Vizhinjam area and there would be schemes to renovate and modernise the existing fishing harbour in the area.
A seafood park and training centre for vocations connected with the port and fishing would be set up. The Mulloor school at Vizhinjam would be provided with more student facilities at a cost of Rs.1.5 crore.
A sum of Rs.24.5 crore would be spent on a housing scheme for slum dwellers of the village, Rs.10 crore on a solar power scheme, Rs.15 crore on public sanitation and Rs.1 crore on health care, he said.