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Vizhinjam port project: Major segments hit; Phase I to be delayed

The Vizinjam transshipment terminal is likely to be delayed indefinitely overshooting the One thousand day deadline set by the operator of the proposed port Gautam Adani according to an admission made by the state Port Minister Kadanapally Ramachandran in the Kerala Assembly recently.

The government in a statement to the assembly conceded that the project being set up near the southern tip of the country will miss the contractual deadline of 1460 days set for the commissioning of the phase one of the project.

The project work has been severely hampered in the availability of rocks for the construction of breakwaters. The problem of non availability of rocks in the project site has been there for the past several months.  The slow progress on the construction of breakwaters has affected the dredging work. The dredging work has come to standstill and is expected to resume only after the south west monsoon. In effect work can resume only after October this year,

The Adani Group has not succeeded in replacing the two dredgers that were damaged in Cyclone Ockhi in November-end. It is now almost certain the group will have to give a miss to the current dredging season.
Sources said full-fledged dredging is expected to resume only by October this year. Dredging will prove impossible by May with the seas turning rough due to the monsoons.

Under the concession agreement signed between the Kerala government and the Adani group, Phase I would consist of 800 metres of berths and the breakwater. The dredging of the channel also was expected to be completed by then. Commercial operations, was to start on December 5 this year as per the announcement made by the Kerala government

The 1,000-day deadline was announced by the Chairman of Gujarat based group Gautam Adani, after inking the agreement nearly three years ago..Senior government Ports officials overseeing the Vizhinjam project said they were ‘’brainstorming’’ with the Adani group regarding the options before them. The construction of the breakwater is also expected to resume only when the monsoon rains recede.

For several months now, the construction of the breakwater has not progressed due to a severe shortage in construction rock. So far, only 600 metres of the 3.1 km structure has been completed. Attempts to procure rock from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu and Kollam are on, but nothing has been finalised yet. Local consignments keep trickling in, but the demand is to the tune of several lakh tonnes of rock.

The plan now is to use bottom-opening barges to dump the rocks in place after the southwest monsoon. For months now, there were hints the first phase work would go beyond the deadline. , Ports Minister Ramachandran Kadannapally confirmed the fears in the Assembly on March sixth.

The UDF government headed by Oomen Chandy signed a Memorandum of understanding with the Adani group for construction of transshipment terminal at Vizhinjam in August 2015. The construction work starts December that year. The cyclone Ockhi strikes the area severely damaging the dredgers and other harbor equipment.

The state Port minister Kadanapally Ramachandran officially announces that the project will miss the deadline in the state assembly on March sixth.


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