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LDF government is all set to re-open the tender for the proposed international container trans-shipment terminal at Vizhinjam.

Posted on 28 Nov 2006
Leaving its leaders in Delhi to seek a level-playing field for Chinese firms entering the country, the CPM-led LDF government in Kerala has had a rethink on awarding the contract of a major project to a Chinese consortium. In fact, the LDF government is all set to re-open the tender for the proposed international container trans-shipment terminal at Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram, initially awarded to a Chinese consortium — Kaidi Electric Power Company and China Harbour Engineering Company — and Mumbai’s Zoom Developers by the previous Congress-led UDF government. But Central objections — security reasons were cited — meant that the project could not take off unless cleared by Delhi. CPM general secretary Prakash Karat even demanded that the government take a decision in favour of Chinese FDI for the Vizhinjam terminal. The Left also raised this issue at its meetings with the UPA. In the meantime, Bangalore-based Jupiter Capital, floated by former BPL chief Rajeev Chandrasekhar, told the Kerala government that they too were interested in the Vizhinjam project. The Hindustan Infrastructure Projects and Engineering, a Jupiter Capital venture, wanted to take up the project and representatives even met Chief Minister V S Achuthannadan and Ports Minister M Vijayakumar in this regard. This has led to a rethink on going ahead with the initial award of the contract. “The priority before the government is the development of the port. Everything else is secondary,” Kerala Ports Minister M Vijayakumar told The Indian Express when he was asked about the Jupiter Capital proposal. “The state government is open to all. All we want is time-bound completion of the development work,” he said. And in a new twist to the tale, M V Raghavan, who as the UDF Port Minister had selected the Chinese consortium, has also come out in support of the bid made by Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s group. The total cost of the project is Rs 4,360 crore. The terminal, being developed on build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis, will be returned to the Kerala government without any financial liabilities after 30 years. The Vizhinjam terminal is expected to cut down freight costs of Indian exporters considerably. Source: Indian Express, Nov 21