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Centre favours cabotage exemption for Vizhinjam

Special Correspondent
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Southern ports must get a share of shipping business: Deora

: Union Minister of State for Communication, Information & Technology, and Shipping Milind Deora on Sunday said the Union government would consider favourably the State's demand for exemption for Vizhinjam International Deep-sea Container Transhipment Terminal from cabotage laws to make the project proposals a viable investment proposition.

Addressing a press conference soon after a visit to the project site and discussions with State government officials, Mr. Deora said the Centre would soon initiate discussions with the various stakeholders such as ship-owners’ associations, besides getting inputs from other connected ministries.

Terming justifiable the State’s demand for cabotage exemption, Mr. Deora said there was no reason why the southern ports should not get a share of the shipping business. Vizhinjam, which had assumed importance from a national security angle, had some inherent advantages. In the long run, the exemption would have a strong impact on the sector, he said.

With regard to the proposal for a ship building yard in the southern parts, he said the Centre had identified three locations and Thiruvananthapuram had a top billing because of its natural location. It had in principle agreed to invest Rs.1,000 crore.

Earlier, Mr. Deora, along with Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development, visited the project site and held discussions with officials of the State government and Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd, including its CEO Suresh Babu. Mr. Tharoor explained the importance of getting cabotage exemption in order to make the project viable enough to attract investors.

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