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Probe Vizhinjam Pact If Dissent Pops up, Says Chandy

Thiruvananthapuram: Close on the heels of the report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, UDF leader Oommen Chandy said that the agreement with Adani Ports and SEZ Private Ltd for Vizhinjam project can be probed if there is any dispute in this regard. The CAG today revealed that interests of Kerala were not protected in the agreement with Adani Ports for implementing the Rs 7,525 crore Vizhinjam International Deepwater Multipurpose Seaport project.

CAG in its report on public sector undertakings for the year ended March 2016, tabled in the Kerala Assembly today, said the technical and financial estimates prepared by external consultants were not scrutinised with due diligence resulting in inflation of cost estimates.

According to Chandy, the agreement was the result of the then UDF government’s sheer determination. He said that if there is any dispute, the present agreement and the pact during the reign of V.S. Achuthanandan can be examined.

Speaking in the Assembly today, he said the government can decide which agreement is beneficial for the State. He said that the CAG might have considered only the current situation while preparing its report and it has not examined about the long-term benefits for the State. Chandy alleged that otherwise, the government had faltered in giving a report to the CAG.

Achuthanandan called for revising the Vizhinjam project agreement yesterday as it is mysterious and suspicious.

The total cost of the project was estimated at Rs 7,525 crore. On this Rs 2,454 crore is the investment by Adani group for and Rs 1,635 the Viability Gap funding of Centre and state and Rs 3,436 crore by the State.

With regard to the financial and economic viability of the project, the report observed that in spite of 67 per cent investment by the State, the financial benefit accruing to the state was not commensurate with its investments. The CAG report added that the project will provide a profit of Rs 29,000 crore to Adani as per the pact.