Vizhinjam Port, one of Kerala's dream projects that has been hanging fire for over 25 years, will be commissioned in October 2020, said a top official of the port. Addressing reporters in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday, Rajesh Jha, CEO, Adani Vizhinjam Port Pvt Ltd, said that even though the original agreement was to complete the work and commission the port in 1,425 days, due to some issues it has been postponed to October 2020.
"The Ockhi waves in 2017 caused severe damage and the effect was so huge that the rebuilding process is still on. Then there was a massive shortage of stones. Now in a few months, we are commissioning 21 quarries (stone mines). In a mega project such as this, delays are expected," said Jha.
"Once completed, this would be one of India's deepest ports and 80 per cent of the country's cargo trans-shipments will take place here. It would change the economy of Kerala," added Jha.
Interestingly, the new deadline for commissioning -- October 2020 -- delays Vizhinjam Port by 13 more months, contrary to Adani Ports owner Gautam Adani's announcement, at the time of its commencement on December 5, 2015, that the first ship will berth there on September 1, 2018, in a record time of less than 1,000 days.
The international multi-purpose deep water seaport project was planned by the state's Oommen Chandy government, which inked its 2015 agreement with Adani Ports at a cost of Rs 7,525 crore.
Adani Ports, which was the lone bidder for the project, had sought a Rs 1,635 crore grant for it.
The project requires 360 acres of land, of which 130 acres have been reclaimed from the sea. Also, part of it is a 10.9-km long railway line.
"The Konkan Railway Corporation is working on it and when completed in 2022, it will have a 9-km long tunnel (the second longest railway tunnel in India), which will connect the port to the main railway line," said Jayakumar, managing director and CEO, Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd.
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.