Stalled Seaport Work Worries Govt.

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Posted February 11, 2019

Dredging yet to begin in full swing in Vizhinjam, breakwater work in limbo

Dredging is yet to commence in full swing for the International Multipurpose Deepwater Seaport at Vizhinjam and the construction of the 3.1 km-long breakwater has come to a standstill since April 2017.

While the construction of container yard and ancillary facilities are progressing well, only 40% of dredging and reclamation and 565 metres of the 3.1-km breakwater, a critical component of the seaport project, are complete.

Sea reclamation

Seven million cubic metres of sand is needed for reclamation of 130 acres of sea for the container yard. Only 2.8 million cubic metres have been reclaimed.

Efforts to commence works, badly hit by Cyclone Ockhi in November 2017, southwest monsoon of 2018, and shortage of granite, have not succeeded.

The government is concerned about the delay in commencing the work by Adani Vizhinjam Port Private Ltd (AVPPL), the private multi-port operator tasked with building and operating the seaport.

Deadline missed

The AVPPL missed the 1,000-day deadline set to complete the first phase. Adani Group chairman Gautam S. Adani had announced September 1, 2018, as the target after the pact was signed with the government in August 2015.

Granite via Kollam port

The operator’s move to transport granite for the breakwater work through sea via the Kollam port in barges is yet to materialise. Although a 1,500-tonne barge has reached the load jetty at Kollam, teething problems are yet to be ironed out.

The barge will ship granite to Vizhinjam, 40 nautical miles from Kollam, and the up and down journey will take nearly 16 hours.

The remaining 2.5-km critical portion of the breakwater is in deepwater zone that ranges from 16 to 20 metres.

Around 70 lakh tonnes of granite, including 10 lakh tonnes for berth and 55 lakh tonnes for the breakwater, is needed for the work.

Meanwhile, a meeting chaired by Chief Secretary Tom Jose recently reviewed the project and the hurdles faced by the AVPPL in sourcing granite.

AVPPL request

The request by the AVPPL seeking priority for quarries located on less than five hectares figured at the meeting attended by District Collectors of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Pathanamthitta and other top officials.

AVPL sources said steps had been initiated to source granite and commence the breakwater work.

“We are planning to bring more barges and operate eight barges from Kollam, Muthalapozhi, and Thoothukudi in two to three months. A 30,000-tonne vessel from Gujarat is being worked out to ship granite,” he added.

Source: The Hindu