History of development e ffo r t s fo r re a l i s i n g Vizhinjam seaport in mo d e r n ti m e s d ate s back to 1991. The strategic advantage of Vizhinjam Ports a n d i t s p o s s i b l e e co n o m i c and development impact on the country and the state were never disputed since then. Under various models, attempts were made by Government of Kerala (GoK) in 1995, 2004-05, 2007- 08 and 2010-11to develop the port. Due to a variety of reasons, none of the attempts succeed. Delay in the implementation and development of competing ports by then in neighbouring countries, significantly impacted the standalone financial viability of the project. It is in this context, the current development attempts of the project got initiated in 2011.
Following the bid attempt in 2010-11, efforts were intensified for obtaining environmental clearance. Terms of Reference for Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) study was approved in July 2011. A comprehensive environmental and social impact studies were conducted over a period of 2 years. The activities i n c l u d e p u b l i cati o n o f E I A report, public hearing, 40 public consultations and preparation of Environment Management Plan. Following its appraisal by Ministry of Environment & Forest, Government of India (GoI), the project received Environment Clearance on 3rd January 2014.
F o l l o w i n g a d e t a i l e d a n d consultative methodological approach, land acquisition for the project was undertaken during the period. The land requirement for the project including road connectivity is about 220 acres. Of which 90% of the land area has been acquired or purchased. Land Oustees were compensated with R&R package approved by GoK.
Vizhinjam in its initial years will face stiff competition on pricing with the existing terminals of Colombo, Salala, Singapore and Dubai. The competition becomes intense with Srilanka developing container capacity of Colombo manifold in the last decade. C o n s i d e r i n g t h e e co n o m i c importance of Vizhinjam and understanding its viability concerns, Government of Kerala adopted the current “Landlord Port Model” in 2013. The Model was aligned with Viability Gap Funding (VGF) Scheme of GoI. For framing the development model and concession agreement for the project, the State adopted Model Concession Agreement for Public Private Partnership in State Ports published by Planning Commission, GoI.
Viability Gap Funding
With the environment clearance and development model in place, proposal for in-principle approval of VGF was submitted to Ministry of Finance, GoI on April 2014. Following the appraisal process which involves scrutiny by Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Planning Commission and Ministry of Shipping, the proposal got “In-Principle” approval of Ministry of Finance, GoI on February 2015. Vizhinjam is the first port project in the country and first project in the state to receive VGF approval from Ministry of Finance.
Selection of Concessionaire
Following the recommendation for Environmental Clearance, Government initiated a two stage International Competitive process in December 2013. The entire tender process was conducted by Ports Department, GoK and Vizhinjam International Seaport Limited (the implementation agency) on a fair and transparent basis, following national and international best practices and guidelines. Following the tender process, M/s Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZL) has been chosen as the private partner and Letter of Award is issued. Government of Kerala signed the Concession Agreement with Adani Vizhinjam Port Pvt. Ltd (AVPPL), the Concessionaire company constituted by APSEZ.
Commencement of Construction
Following the signing of Concession Agreement, Pre-Construction activities such as survey and investigation were undertaken by the Concessionaire. Right of Way for the 90% of the land required for the port was handed over by GoK to the Concessionaire. The construction commenced on 05th December 2015 following the ground breaking of the project by Honourable Chief Minister Shri Oommen Chandy. Currently dredging and reclamation is in progress at site.
Though the Concession Agreement envisages a construction period of 4 years for the project, the Concessionaire and GoK has set an ambitious target of 1000 days to make the port operational. Concessionaire would be responsible for the construction and overall development of the port and GoK/VISL would be providing all round assistance and support for the timely implementation. VISL as an Implementing Agency of the Project will be responsible for meeting all obligations of Government. The following activities/development support will be performed by VISL/GoK in the days ahead: With the assistance of Revenue Department, acquisition of balance land required for the project and rehabilitation of project affected people will be completed. Identification of and finalisation of compensation package for fishermen whom include mussel collectors and shore seine fishermen are being undertaken by Livelihood Impact Assessment Committee (LIAC) headed by District Collector. The proceedings of the committee are in advance stage. Land required for rail connectivity will be acquired after finalisation of Detailed Project Report for Rail Connectivity by RVNL. The rail connectivity is scheduled to be completed by 2021. Considering the future potential of Vizhinjam seaport, GoK/VISL will prepare the following project reports and submit them to Ministry of Shipping, GoI for assistance under Sagarmala: