You will not read this bit of news in any of the major newspapers (except for, as usual, The Hindu) or see it on the regional channels, since they have decided that the common and garden variety of sundry news is far more important than an important milestone achieved by the largest infrastructure project ever initiated in the history of the State. If you are still wondering why this sort of lunacy continues in the media world, please don't waste any time on it, that's the way it is.
Meanwhile, 14 major companies/consortia submitted responses to the Request for Qualification(RFQ) issued by VISL for the Port Operator part of the Rs 6000 Crore ($1.5 Billion) BOT project. This part envisages a private entity which comes in to operate the port, especially the container transshipment terminal, and also brings in the superstructure - the cargo handling equipment - for the port. As per the current structure of the project, this entity could also opt to develop the basic infrastructure of the port including the breakwater and the quays.
Some of the giants in the fray include Reliance Infrastructure, the Adani Group (Mundra Port), GMR, GVK, Gammon Infrastructure, Leighton, Shipping Corporation of India - SKIL - HCC consortium, Condor-Brookfield consortium, Limak consortium, JP Associates and Sterlite Industries (Vedanta Group).
These bids will now go for analysis to ensure that the firms meet all the qualification criteria. That should not be a difficult proposition for some of the biggest business groups in India and across the World. Together these companies represent hundreds of billions of dollars of investments aall over the globe. Next, they may also be sent to the Central Government for security clearance and finally, the qualified companies will be issued the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the bids themselves. Hopefully, we can expect this by early March 2011.
Vizhinjam's progress has sent shivers down a few spines it seems. Apparently, at the recently concluded Maritime Conclave held by the CII in Trivandrum, the head of a nearby Port Trust made an eloquent appeal against two container transshipment terminals being set up in close proximity to each other and claimed that the funds being deployed for Vizhinjam should instead be given to one of his pet projects which has been sucking down State and Central funds for the last few years without any evident results. Trivandrum's known for its gracious hospitality, else his reception may have run out with such comments.
Anyways, when our rivals run scared before we even break ground, it's obvious that we are doing something right! More on this soon, stay tuned!