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Vizhinjam port: Govt calls for all-party meet on June 3

Thiruvananthapuram: The state cabinet on Wednesday decided to convene an all-party meeting on June 3 to discuss the tender proposal of Adani Ports for the development of the multi-crore Vizhinjam International deep water seaport project here.

The meeting was convened in view of allegations and criticism from different quarters including the opposition CPM-led LDF against government move to accept the tender in its present form.

The port project conceived decades ago, considered to be a dream scheme of the state that can give a substantial boost to economy, has been delayed due to various reasons all these years.

After the present UDF government came to power, the project got a fresh impetus and Board meeting of Vizhinjam Seaport International Ltd (VSIL), the implementing company for the project, had last week accepted tender submitted by Adani Ports for the development of the port.

Subsequently, CPM and CPI, the main partners in the opposition LDF, came out against government move to handover the project to Adani group and also levelled charges of corruption in the deal.

"In view of allegations and criticism, today's cabinet meeting decided to convene an all-party meeting to discuss the issues," Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told reporters.

"I hope that government would be able to convince those opposed to the tender," he said. The government was calling the meeting with an open mind, but asserted that "the proposal now before the government is the best for realising the long pending project".

Only Adani Port bidded for the project when the last date for submitting the tender for bidding ended on April 25.

The project had faced hurdles recently also with no company submitting final bid for taking up the contract for its construction and operation when last date for bidding ended in February, even though five companies expressed interest in the project. Following this, the time for submission of tender was extended.

Chandy had held a pre-bid meeting with prospective companies including the Adani Ports.

The contract is for building port superstructure, estimated to cost Rs 7,524 crore and operate the port for a period of 40 years.

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