Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Zoom Developers back in Vizhinjam port bid

Apr 30, 2009

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Cabinet on Wednesday decided to include the bid of Zoom Developers for participating in the tender process of the Rs 5,348-crore Vizhinjam port project, which is slated to come up on a BOT basis. This is in deference to the Supreme Court verdict on Zoom Developers’ petition. “The letter given by Lanco Kondapally will be under consideration, till Zoom Developers’ bid is also examined. This is the State Government’s directive to the Bid Evaluation Committee,” Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan told reporters after a meeting of the State Cabinet here.

However, no deadline has been fixed for vetting the bids submitted by the companies including Zoom Developers and Lanco Kondapally. After getting the Central clearances, Kerala Government had awarded the contract to Lanco. Zoom Developers had promptly challenged this award dragging Kerala Government to court for rejecting its bid.

Congress-led Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) had alleged that Zoom was kept out of participation, despite it offering to pay the government Rs 447 crore after ten years of operations. Lanco, they pointed out, offered only Rs 115 crore for the same period. On Tuesday,the State Secretariat of the main ruling party CPI(M) had directed the Government to re-examine Zoom’s bid.

Vizhinjam port project, set on world’s deepest natural port location at 24 metre depth, is envisaged to handle 4.1 million containers annually. Built close to a busy international shipping route, the proposed port is to be handed over to Kerala Government after the 30 years once the concession period is over.

Kerala Cabinet, which met here, also approved the guidelines for starting IT parks in private sector in the state. A minimum of 30,000 sq feet land was necessary for starting an IT park, according to the State’s IT policy. As much as 70% of the land available must be used for IT-related purposes, Chief Minister, who holds the IT portfolio, said.

The Cabinet also decided to celebrate the third anniversary of the LDF government’s rule by launching welfare and development works. Achuthandan said that the Rs 2 per kilo rice scheme for BPL families would be inaugurated, in the State capital, on May 18. In other districts, the scheme would be effective from May 19.

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