Major infrastructure firms vie for Vizhinjam project
Work on Rs 5,934 crore port project is expected to commence in 2012
BY Amrita Nair Ghaswalla
The proposed deepwater transhipment container project at Vizhinjam, near Thiruvananthapuram, is a hot property now. Major infrastructure companies such as the GMR Group, the GVK Group and Reliance Infrastructure Ltd, along with a consortium of global majors from Turkey, the UK and Australia, have been vying for the Kerala government-owned port.
The project is estimated to cost Rs 5,934 crore. People close to the matter who did not wish to be identified said several companies such as Essar Group, Jaiprakash Associates Ltd, Patel Engineering Ltd, Sterlite Industries Ltd, Welspun Infratech Ltd and Nagarjuna Construction Ltd, among a host of others, had applied to start work on the project.
"The first phase itself has been outlined to cost around Rs 2,620 crore. Of this, some Rs 970 crore is to be borne by the infrastructure company or consortium that is to be selected to develop the port," one of the people said. The work will commence from 2012.
The Kerala government has agreed to pitch in with the remaining Rs 1,650 crore.
"Though the Kerala government wants to develop the port under a scheme where the state will own the land, the operations of the entire port are to be in the hands of the infrastructure firm that bags the contract," the person cited earlier added.
Earlier, when the Kerala government had invited an expression of interest, more than 30 companies had shown an interest in the development. A second round of global bids was launched, which would help identify the private partner, sources added.
Though the Shipping Corporation of India Ltd had shown an initial interest in partnering with the Kerala government, its name was not among the 14 shortlisted candidates that was announced on Wednesday, at the opening of the tender.