Kerala to re-assess bid for Vizhinjam port development

Thiruvananthapuram, April 29 (Inditop) The Kerala cabinet Wednesday asked the bid evaluation committee for the proposed Rs.53.48-billion Vizhinjam port to scrutinise the tender documents of the Mumbai-based Zoom Developers, whose bid had been rejected earlier.

The decision was taken following a Supreme Court directive, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan told reporters here, adding: “We have asked the committee to go through Zoom’s tender documents.”

The chief minister said no time frame had been fixed for taking a final call on the bids submitted by a host of companies including Zoom.

The evaluation committee is headed by the chief secretary.

The central government had cleared the proposal earlier this year, following which the state government awarded the contract to Lanco Infrastructure. This, however, was challenged by Zoom, which took the state government to court after its bid was rejected.

The awarding of the contract had run into further trouble after the Congress-led opposition alleged that Zoom was deliberately kept out, despite it offering to pay the government Rs.447 crore after 10 years of operations, as compared to Lanco, which offered Rs.115 crore.

The ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), at its two-day state secretariat meeting that ended here Tuesday evening, also directed the state cabinet to have Zoom’s bid re-examined.

The Vizhinjam port project is being developed under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) scheme and will be handed over to the state government after 30 years. It will be built over 150 acres with no displacement of local fishermen, officials said.

With the natural depth at 24 metres, one of the deepest in the world, the port needs no dredging. It will be located close to a busy international shipping route, and handle 4.1 million containers annually.