Kerala Budget: Govt mulls massive developments projects linked to Vizhinjam port, Rs 321 cr for fisheries

Vizhinjam International Seaport Limited under construction. File photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: The state government is planning massive development projects for the Vizhinjam harbour project, along the lines of key ports across the world, Finance Minister KN Balagopal said.

Presenting the State budget on Friday, the government stated that it is planning various projects including land pooling and public private partnerships in Phase 1 of the Vizhinjam project. This is estimated to cost Rs 60,000 crore over the years.

“The Vizhinjam Sea Port can be developed into the biggest transshipment harbour in the world. It is strategically placed on one of the busiest sea routes in the world,” the minister said.

Kerala has four ports with cargo handling capacity –  Beypore, Azhikkal, Kollam and Vizhinjam.

The total cargo exports from Kerala has increased from 1,26,619 tonne in 2018 to 2,65,538 tonne in 2022, according to the Economic Review. The government is hoping to increase these figures substantially through the $900 million Vizhinjam project.

Vizhinjam International Transshipment Terminal will be the first deep water transshipment terminal in India. 

The main advantage of Vizhinjam port is natural depth of 18m, 10 nautical miles from the major international shipping route and minimal littoral drift along the coast. The state government has constituted a special purpose vehicle namely Vizhinjam International Sea port Limited

(VISL) to facilitate the implementation of the project. 

Port operation and development is also planned on PPP model for an agreed concession time period. 

With regard to funding for the development of VISL, the largest share comes from the State Government which accounts for about 57.5 per cent out of the total funding followed by concessionaire (Adani Vizhinjam Port Private Ltd.) which accounts for 31.8 per cent and the remaining 10.62 per cent is contributed by the Union Government.

India do not have a deep-water container transshipment terminal at present, and is dependent on Colombo, Singapore and Salalah ports. This results in significant loss of foreign currency and revenue, estimated to be about Rs 2,500 crore a year, according to the Economic Review. The completion of the Vizhinjam port is expected to overcome this serious lacuna. 

Allocation for fisheries 

Rs 321 crore was allocated by the Finance Minister for the Fisheries sector and Rs 1 crore was set aside for Fisheries Innivation Project. Rs 10 crore was demarcated for the upgradation of fishing boats.

Rs 10 crore was set aside for the conservation of coastal areas in the State in the budget.

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