No threat to Vizhinjam port project: Tharoor

Thiruvanathapuram, July 8 (IANS) Stressing Congress has always put development above politics, party MP Shashi Tharoor said it will continue to do so in the case of Vizhinjam and there is no prospect of Kerala losing the proposed port.

In a press release issued here Wednesday night, Tharoor, who is also a director of the port board, asserted that there is no threat to the Vizhinjam project despite rumours in the media.

“News being circulated in the media about supposed objections emerging from the Congress high command is baseless. The Congress has always put development above politics, and will continue to do so in the case of Vizhinjam,” he said in the release.

For the past two days, local media have been claiming that the project has been put on hold on the Congress high command’s directive as they were upset with the Oommen Chandy government for handing it over Adani Ports of Gautam Adani, who is considered close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Rs.4,000-crore first phase of the port is to come up near the famed tourist destination Kovalam and is expected to be completed in three phases, with the first phase being ready by 2019.

Adani Ports was the lone bidder and had sought Rs.1,635 crore as grant for the proposed port project.

The media speculation started when the Chandy government delayed the letter of award to Adani Ports even after the model code of conduct was lifted last week.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday night after the weekly cabinet meeting, Chandy, in a lighter vein, said that when the project was cleared by his government, the opposition CPI-M had alleged Rs.6,000 crore corruption and “hence we are checking everything properly”.

“There is no need for any concern as at the appropriate time, the clearance would be given,” he said.

Tharoor also added that the Left parties and the Bharatiya Janata Party are desperately trying to politicize the project.

“The Left could not begin construction during their tenure and are, thus, for petty political gains, raising unsubstantiated allegations now to tarnish the good work and developmental agenda of the UDF government. The BJP, on the other hand, in an effort to appropriate credit without any effort or meaningful contributions, are criticizing the government for technical delays.”

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