Court grants interim stay to Vizhinjam port development

June 3rd, 2008 - 4:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Kochi (Kerala), June 3 (IANS) The Kerala High Court Tuesday granted interim stay on a petition filed by a developer, who lost the bid to build the proposed Rs.53.48 billion port at Vizhinjam near the famed tourist destination of Kovalam. The V.S. Achuthanandan government May 23 gave the nod for a consortium headed by Hyderabad-based Lanco Kondapalli Power Private Ltd, Malaysia-based Pembinaan Redzai Sdn. Bhd. and Lanco Infrastructure Limited to implement the project in two phases.

It was against this that Mumbai-based Zoom Developers approached the High Court.

Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan, while hearing a plea from the Mumbai firm, stayed the project for two weeks and asked the state government’s high level committee, which scrutinized the various tender forms for award of the project, to present the bid papers to the court.

This is the second time that an attempt to build the Vizhinjam port is being undertaken. During the previous Oommen Chandy government (2004-06), after selecting a consortium of two Chinese and a Mumbai firm through a global tender, the central government had at the last moment decided not to give its sanction citing security reasons.

The central government decided against giving security clearance as the Chinese companies had business interests in ports in Pakistan.

At that time, the contract was won by a consortium led by Zoom Developers.

The court will take up the petition next week.

A major advantage of Vizhinjam port is that it needs no dredging. The natural depth is 24 meters, one of the deepest in the world.

Another advantage is that the proposed port lies very close to a busy international shipping route. It is to be built on an area of 150 acres and there will be no displacement of local fishermen. The port will be able to handle 4.10 million containers annually.

The port, once ready, would create 5,000 direct jobs and 150,000 indirect jobs.

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