Letter to the Prime Minister

Dear Sri. Narendra Modiji,

I had written to you about the concern over the future prospects of the ongoing Vizhinjam Port Project in Thiruvananthapuram in the wake of the recent decision of Government of India to accord in principle approval for setting up a new major port at Enayam in Tamil Nadu. This letter is intended to bring the seriousness of the matter to your kind attention again.

The Vizhinjam port, which has been a dream project of our State for decades, has now become a reality thanks to the sincere support from Government of India. As a matter of fact, the Government of India has even sanctioned the Viability Gap Funding (VGF) to the tune of about Rs. 800 crores considering the importance and relevance of the project to the State and the Nation. The project estimated to cost Rs. 7500 crores in the first phase with the involvement of both the Central and the State government is an excellent example of Public Private Partnership model. Despite the challenges, the project is moving ahead of the time-lines proposed. I take this opportunity to reaffirm my Governments steadfast commitment to complete the project, on time.

The development of Enayam port in Tamil Nadu, which is hardly 30 kms away from Vizhinjam has raised some serious concerns among the people of Kerala. The very fact that made Government of India sanctioned of VGF assistance to Vizhinjam Project demonstrates the lack of financial viability and shows that the project is sensitive to added competition. The further points of concern that come to the fore are as follows:
(a) Both the Ports would be handling business of a similar nature, leading to unhealthy competition and wasteful expenditure. Both may become unviable also.
(b) When Vizhinjam port project was sanctioned, the Ministry of Shipping had opposed the proposal stating that it may affect the viability of Cochin Port, which is about 250 kms away. By the same logic, constructing a new port within 30 kms of Vizhinjam does not appear logical.
(c) Never in the history, two green field ports were set up in quick succession endangering both. Both Ennore port and JNPT were developed after decades of operation and achieving full capacity initialisation of the respective mother ports.
(d) The concession agreement was drafted based on the model agreement published by the Central Planning Commission which prohibits construction of a new ports within in 100 KM until 90% capacity is utilisation or within 15 years of operation which ever is earlier. Hence Central Government also has a responsibility to consider the terms of the agreement.

I recollect with happiness your gracious approach and whole-hearted commitment towards the emergence of infrastructure and other developments in my State, during our meeting in New Delhi on the 28th of May 2016. I sincerely hope that you will address our concerns on the Vizhinjam port project in a very positive manner.

Yours sincerely,

Pinarayi Vijayan

Shri. Narendra Modi
Honble Prime Minister of India
New Delhi