KERALA

Investors show interest in Vizhinjam project: MVR

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, FEB. 26. Investors from within India and outside will be gathering here on Friday and Saturday to discuss investment in the proposed Vizhinjam International Deep Sea Transhipment Terminal, the Minister for Ports, M.V. Raghavan, said here today.

The Minister said ten companies had informed the Government that they would be joining a visit to the site and discussions. An official meeting with them, scheduled for Saturday, had been cancelled on account of State mourning over the death of Governor, Sikander Bakht. However, as the investors could not be informed of the cancellation of the programme in time, informal talks would be held with them at the Technopark.

Mr. Raghavan said the companies which had expressed interest in the project were Maersk, based in Denmark; Hili, based in Malta; Asok Leyland Project Services of the Hinduja group; Larsen and Turbo, Chennai; Hysen Cell Technology Consortium, South Africa; East West Group, Mumbai; Indo-British Ports Consortium, Mumbai; Advani Ports, Gujarat; A.M.P. Group, Australia; and Navayuga Engineering, Hyderabad.

He said the main advantage of the location identified for the port was the nearness to international routes and depth of the sea. There was time up to March 15 for submission of expression of interest by the investors. Short-listing of investors would be possible by July.

One-time settlement: The Minister said that the one-time loan settlement scheme being implemented by the cooperatives would come to a close on March 31. It would not be extended further. Arrears could be cleared by paying 12 per cent interest under the scheme. The benefit would be available from all cooperatives under the Registrar of Cooperatives.

Deposit Mobilisation: Mr. Raghavan said the annual deposit mobilisation drive by the cooperatives would be organised from March 1 to 31.

The drive targeted mobilisation of Rs. 400 crores of which Rs. 282 crores would be raised by the primary agricultural cooperatives including farmers banks. Urban cooperative banks, district cooperative banks and the State Cooperative Bank would raise the balance.

He said that last year's deposit mobilisation was a grant success. Against a target of Rs. 400 cores, Rs. 914.08 crores was mobilised. The State-level inauguration of this year's drive would be held at Kottayam.

Seat for CMP: The Minister said his party, CMP, stood by its demand for one seat to contest in the Lok Sabha elections. Now that the Congress is leading a Front, it need not necessarily be the largest party to claim the right to form the Government. Hence, seats could be allocated to constituents. The CMP was asking for the Kasaragod seat where Congress candidates had been defeated in the previous elections.