Vizhinjam Port to submit EIA report to Centre by Dec: CEO
Posted on: 30 Sep 2012
Mumbai: The much-delayed Rs 4,000-crore Vizhinjam Port project in southern Kerala, which had last month cancelled the sole port operator bid from the Welspun Group, is expecting to submit the final environmental impact assement (EIA) report to the Centre by December.
Gainsaying that the near-six months delay in the EIA report will not affect the project any further, Vizhinjam
International Seaport chief executive Suresh Babu told PTI that he hopes to invite bids for the EPC (engineering,
procurement and construction) contract in the first quarter of next year.
'We are hopeful of submitting the final EIA report to the Union Environment Ministry latest by December and hopes
to float a global tender for EPC within the first quarter of next 2013,' Babu said over phone from the state capital
It can be noted that the port was hoping to get the EIA report, being conducted by an L&T-Ramboll consortium and
Asian Consulting Engineers, first by June-July and then put off to September.
Explaining the delay for the EIA report, Babu said the Kerala Hotels & Restaurants Association early this month had
demanded that they be heard by the EIA team.
'In a way it is good that the association approached the EIA team for a public hearing before the final report was
drafted. Otherwise, it would have been delayed further. We hope everything goes smoothly now,' Babu added.
Last month, the Oomman Chandy government had decided to cancel the bid from the Mumbai-based Welspun Infratech-led
consortium citing as 'too high' the demand for the Rs 480 crore up-front grant, spread over an initial period of 16
This development came even after Welspun brought down their grant demand to Rs 399.5 crore. Announcing the cancellation of the Welspun bid, Kerala Ports and Fisheries minister K Babu had said many more clearances are to be in place such as the EIA nod, the EPC contract and exemption from the Cabotage regulations for Vizhinjam. Once these are in place the project will draw more business interest than at present in taking up the port operator's role there.
'We are sure we will get a better deal,' the minister had said last month.
When pointed out that the port authority does not have an operator in hand, the port CEO said, 'Why do we need an
operator even before we have the EPC contract in place? The role of the operator under our landlord model of development
comes only after the basic infrastructure is in place.
'So my priority is to get the basic infrastructure up at the earliest and then go for the port operator. Such a move
will also help us better valuation,' he said. The landlord model involves the state building the port infrastructure, while the port superstructure will be erected by the private port operator for the initial 30 years post which the entire structure will be returned to the state.
According to the original plan, the state was planning to invite the EPC tenders in March, which was the put off to
The state budget for FY13 has earmarked Rs 250 crore for the port project.
Under the bid contract, out of the Rs 4,010-crore Vizhinjam port in the first phase, the state will invest Rs 3,040 crore for building basic infrastructure while the selected private firm will chip in Rs 970 crore to erect cargo-handling equipment.
The three-phased Vizhinjam International Seaport project is estimated to cost Rs 7,800 crore and is being
developed by Kerala on a landlord model wherein the state will build the port infrastructure, while the port superstructure
will be erected by the private operator of the port.
The ambitious port project was first proposed way back in 2003.
Vizhinjam's history as a port dates back to the days of the Ay kings. Today, the port sees some luxury liners
calling in due to the proximity to the tourism hub Kovalam, and some of them stop by en route to Colombo or the Maldives
from Kochi. Last year, only two ships called at the port and the third one slated to visit late November. PTI