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Mr. Gadkari has given me an assurance that cabotage law will be relaxed - Chief Minister Oommen Chandy

Posted on 04 Mar 2015

Hopes of the Vizhinjam international multi-purpose seaport project taking off have brightened with Union Minister for Road Transport and Shipping Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday assuring Chief Minister Oommen Chandy of relaxation in cabotage law.

“Mr. Gadkari has given me an assurance that cabotage law will be relaxed and we are hopeful that port operating companies and consortia will come forward to construct the port superstructure and operate the seaport now,” Mr. Chandy, who met the Union Minister in Delhi, told reporters.

The Chief Minister undertook the mission after Adani Ports informed him that lack of clarity in cabotage law had prevented it from submitting the Request for Proposal (RFP) even after buying it. Mr. Chandy could not meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he was busy with proceedings in the Rajya Sabha.

Pre-bid meeting

Based on the assurance given by Mr. Gadkari, Vizhinjam International Seaport Limited (VISL) has decided to hold a pre-bid meting in Mumbai on March 9.

Essar Ports, Adani Ports, and a consortium of Srei and OHL will be invited to the meeting.

Official sources told The Hindu that Gammon Infrastructure Projects and Hyundai-Concast Infratech Ltd., who have qualified, could participate in the pre-bid meeting if they purchased the RFP.

Extended deadline

The extended deadline for submitting the RFP would end on March 25.

Rail link

Mr. Gadkari also assured the State that rail connectivity would be provided to the Vizhinjam and Ponnani ports on the initiative of the Shipping Ministry.

The Centre had approved Rs.800-crore viability gap funding for the Vizhinjam project.

State Planning Board Vice Chairman K.M. Chandrasekhar, Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson, Principal Secretary, Ports, James Varghese, and VISL managing director and CEO A.S. Suresh Babu were present with the Chief Minister.

Source: The Hindu