TAMIL NADU

Vizhinjam terminal: final decision on bids in January

Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A final decision on the two bids received for the construction of the proposed Vizhinjam International Transhipment Terminal would be taken in January, Minister for Cooperation and Ports M.V. Raghavan said here on Thursday.

At a press conference, the Minister said the technical evaluation of the bids had been completed. Evaluation of the financial bids by the Finance Department was under way.

Mr. Raghavan said the bids were from an Indian company and a Chinese consortium. The Chinese consortium, consisting of the Chinese Harbour Engineering Company (a Government of China undertaking), Kaidi Electric Power Company and Zoom Developers India, was keen on the project.

A final decision on awarding the contract would be taken if the terms and conditions of the financial bid were acceptable to the Government. Otherwise, the Government would directly take up the project for execution, he said.

Risk fund

The Minister said the Cooperative Department would set up a risk fund to cover loans taken from the cooperatives. If a loanee died during the term of the loan, the Government would provide a cover of Rs.1 lakh on the principal amount. The cooperative would write off the interest and other expenses.

Mr. Raghavan said every loanee should be required to pay 0.05 per cent of the loan towards the corpus of the fund. The Government would provide budget support of Rs.2 crores. The scheme would become operational from this year.

He said the one-time settlement scheme for collection of loan arrears would be reintroduced for six months. An amount of Rs.1,488 crores had been collected under the earlier scheme. As many as 5.43 lakh persons had got benefits amounting to Rs.199 crores from the scheme.

He said that the debt relief announced by the Government for the farmers were not a political stunt. The Government had already paid the cooperatives Rs.38.99 crores in reimbursing the relief provided. The balance of Rs.156.82 crores would be released next month.

The prices of rubber and coconut, he said, had increased after the present Government came to power.

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