The shortage of limestone, the most important raw material for the construction of Kerala”s dream port project — Vizhinjam — has affected the work at the port site, causing a delay in the project completion, which should have seen the berthing of a ship in 2018.
On Thursday, the public undertaking committee of the Kerala Legislative Assembly visited the port site to take stock of the situation.
At the time of commencement of work on the port on December 5, 2015, Adani Ports owner Gautam Adani had announced that the first ship will berth there on September 1, 2018, in a record time of less than 1,000 days.
This, however, did not happen, and the second important deadline was December 4, 2019, which was the original date of completion of the first phase, but that has also not been met.
M. Vincent, the MLA from here, told “The biggest issue is the huge shortage of limestone. The Adani Ports officials told us that even though the government has given license to 20 quarries, only one is working, as all the others are waiting for final clearance to start work.
“The flaw here, on why things are moving at a snail”s pace is because of the government, which is the facilitator but is not doing a clean job. When the Congress government under Oommen Chandy (during his tenure, work on the project started) was in power, there used to be regular meetings to assess the progress and any emerging flaws were immediately rectified.”
The project stalled in 2017 after cyclone Ockhi hit the construction site and a portion of the constructed breakwater was washed away.
“The total length of the breakwater is 3.1 km and today what we saw was that only just 700 metres has been completed. We were told by the company officials that if there is an uninterrupted supply of limestone, it will take another 18 months for the port to be operational.
“The committee will now report this to the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and will ask him to call an urgent meeting to see that all licenses are given to quarries to start their work,” added Vincent.
The total cost of the port project is Rs 7,525 crore and the state government has contributed 500 acres of land.
According to the plan, once completed, this would be one of India”s deepest ports and 80 per cent of the country”s cargo trans-shipments will go through here.
Adani Ports, which was the lone bidder for the project, had sought a Rs 1,635 crore grant for the construction purposes.
According to the agreement, Adani will operate the port for 40 years, extendable by 20 more years, while the state government will get a portion of the revenue from the port after 15 years.