KERALA

Plan to develop six ports, says Minister

Special Correspondent

Talks with private companies to develop shipyard at Poovar

Thiruvananthapuram: Minister for Ports M.Vijayakumar said here on Wednesday that the government had started negotiations with private companies to develop a shipyard at Poovar near Vizhinjam.

Delivering the inaugural address at a seminar organised by the Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he said the project would be taken up on the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. The Minister said moves were on to develop six ports from Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram, under plans to convert Kerala into a maritime State.

The six ports, namely Vizhinjam, Tangassery, Alappuzha, Beypore, Ponnani and Azheekkal, would also be developed on the PPP model.

“The Vallarpadam container hub is expected to be completed by 2009. The Vizhinjam seaport will also start operating in one year,” he said.

The Minister said vested interests had not yet given up efforts to scuttle the Vizhinjam project. He said the Cabinet decision to withdraw the notification on land acquisition would be followed up with action against the agency that had prepared the project report.

Kovalam MLA George Mercier said the Cabinet decision to withdraw the notification on land acquisition had removed the biggest obstacle to the project.

He said the lack of transparency on the part of the government had led to concerns among the local people.

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