Kerala Minister for Ports Ahamed Devarkovil and the Adani group on Thursday said the Vizhinjam port, part of a multi-crore International Deep water Multipurpose Seaport project, would be operational by December 2023. However, the entire Rs 7,525 crore project, including providing national highway connectivity to the port and carrying out land acquisitions, would be completed by December 2024, an Adani official said. The joint announcement was made to the media after a meeting of the Adani Group with the minister with regard to completion of the project which was scheduled to be finished by 2021.
The minister told reporters that the Adani officials have said the work got delayed due to various natural calamities since 2018 and thereafter, the COVID outbreak from 2020.
He said these were genuine issues raised by the company and the same can be addressed.
The minister further said that the meeting and the subsequent announcement was made in the wake of some news reports which created confusion regarding completion of the project — the state’s first-ever deep water container transshipment port.
The construction work of the berth of the port was inaugurated in June 2017 by then Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
The then LDF government had decided to go ahead with the project despite the reservations expressed by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).
CAG, in a report tabled in the state assembly, had observed that interests of Kerala were not protected in the agreement with Adani Ports and SEZ Private Ltd for implementing the Rs 7,525 crore project.
The agreement was signed during the previous Congress-led UDF government headed by Oommen Chandy and the work of which was formally launched in 2015.
As per the agreement, Adani under Public-private partnership (PPP) route on Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer basis (DBFOT) would fund and among other things construct berths and related infrastructure and operate the port for a period of 40 years.