The Kerala Cabinet on Wednesday cleared the lone bid submitted by Adani Ports and SEZ Limited to develop the Rs 6,500-crore Vizhinjam port project, Thiruvananthapura.
The approval, which came after the recommendation of a high-power committee headed by the chief secretary, would be announced by the state after the approval of the Election Commission (EC). The Aruvikkara Assembly constituency is to have a bypoll on June 27, making it necessary to get EC’s clearance before making such announcements.
The poll panel had earlier allowed the state to make announcements in ongoing projects.
The Cabinet decided to award the project to Adani Group despite strong protests from the Opposition. The Left Democratic Front, especially the CPI(M), alleged the government was giving land worth Rs 6,000 crore free to the group.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy rejected allegations that land was being given free, saying only a licence to use the land has been given to the implementing company.
The government had convened an all-party meeting on June 3 but consensus remained elusive.
On Monday, Chandy had said the project would be implemented at any cost. The government was committed to implementing the project as this was the last chance for it to see fruition. “The all-party meeting failed to arrive at a consensus as the Opposition parties had rejected the clarifications given by the chief minister.” He said he had held talks with Gautam Adani in New Delhi.
The Vizhinjam project was mooted in early 1990s, when K Karunakaran was the chief minister.