Thiruvananthapuram

Vizhinjam port project gets a new deadline

The first phase of the multi-crore Vizhinjam international seaport project will be completed and commissioned in 2023, the Minister for Ports Ahammad Devarkovil said on Thursday after holding talks with officials of the Adani Vizhinjam Port Pvt. Ltd. (AVPPL).

The Minister came out with a new deadline even as the Ahmedabad-based Adani Group sought a five-year extension (till 2024) for completing the ₹7,525-crore port project which had overshot the original December 3, 2019, target date.

Earlier requests by the AVPPL for extensions citing force majeure situations had been declined by the government. Subsequently, arbitration proceedings commenced earlier this year and the AVPPL had placed its claims before the three-member tribunal.

Weekly review

While natural calamities and the COVID-19 outbreak had delayed work, the situation has now improved, Mr. Devarkovil observed after meeting senior AVPPL officials at Vizhinjam. The State government is placing emphasis on exploiting this opportunity and speeding up the work, he said. The government also intends to constitute a monitoring committee to carry out a weekly review of the progress of work, according to the Minister.

Granite shortage

The port was scheduled to commence operations on December 3, 2019, as per the concession agreement inked in August 2015. A nine-month ‘cure period’ (grace period) also has expired. Work on the 3.1-km breakwater, a major component of the project, has been dragging following an acute shortage of granite. Approximately 850 metres of the structure has been completed. Cyclones Ockhi and Tauktae and the COVID-19 outbreak also had contributed to the delays.

In August and September this year, Kerala had sought the help of the Tamil Nadu government for procuring granite for the project.

An official of AVPPL said that if work on the breakwater progresses smoothly in the months ahead, the first ship can be brought to Vizhinjam by the end of 2023. However, full-fledged operations, which includes other components listed in the concession agreement including rail and road connectivity, would take more time, the official said.

MD of VISL

Meanwhile, the State government has appointed IAS officer K. Gopalakrishnan as managing director of Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd. (VISL), the State government company which oversees the project. The VISL will open its office at Vizhinjam this week, the Ports Minister said.


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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 7:40:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/vizhinjam-port-project-gets-a-new-deadline/article36637565.ece

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