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