The Congress-led opposition on Thursday slammed the Pinarayi Vijayan government for aligning with Adani Ports who are going to execute the proposed Rs 7,525-crore Vizhinjam project.
Congress legislator M Vincent, in whose constituency (Kovalam) the port is coming up, sought leave for an adjournment motion in the Kerala Assembly and pointed out that the state government was just playing into the hands of Adani by not taking appropriate action as the project was now going to be delayed by 18 months.
"As per the contract which was inked under the former Oommen Chandy government on August 17 2015, the port was scheduled to open on December 5, 2019. But last month, Adani Ports wrote to the state government that due to Ockhi disaster, two of their dredgers were damaged and on account of the shortage of limestone, they need an extension of 18 months," said Vincent.
He said as per the agreement, Adani Ports will have to pay a compensation of Rs 12 lakhs if they did not finish the project by the agreed date of completion. But the penalty cannot be enforced if there was a natural disaster or shortage of raw material.
"While replying to a question in the Assembly last month, Minister of Ports K Ramachandran said the work at the port might be delayed due to Ockhi and the non-availability of limestone. What was more surprising that after a week of the statement, Adani Ports wrote to the state government that they needed the extension. The government and Adani were hand in glove," said Vincent.
However, Ramachandran has denied that the government has aligned with anyone.
"There is a high powered committee under the chief secretary which is monitoring the port work. Damages have taken place and there was a serious shortage of limestone also. But we are not going to allow any extension as we are confident that they will be able to complete it on time," the minister said.
Leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala said: "An agile and alert government would have made appropriate intervention and supported the project by ensuring supply of raw materials... We clearly set out strict terms and conditions and now you are diluting it by joining hands with Adani. This is cheating..."