Published On:May 23 2024
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Government to Seek Environmental Clearance for Vizhinjam Port Expansion

With the commercial operation of the first phase of the Vizhinjam International Seaport set to begin in a few months, the Kerala state government has started proceedings to secure environmental clearance for the second and third phases of the project. These phases include the extension of the breakwater, berth, and yard reclamation.

The Kerala State Pollution Control Board is preparing to conduct a public hearing on June 19 in Vizhinjam as the first step towards obtaining the necessary clearance. Residents from Kottukal and Vizhinjam villages have been invited to participate in the hearing. The combined cost for the second and third phases is estimated at Rs 9,540 crore. The Adani Group, the project's concessionaire, can only proceed with these phases after securing environmental clearance.

A team from the Union Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Climate Change has already begun assessing the environmental impact of the port's expansion. The state government has also directed the Adani Group to complete these phases by 2028, accelerating the original deadline from 2045. This decision aims to expedite the benefits of the port's expansion.

According to the Kerala State Pollution Control Board, L&T Infrastructure Engineering Ltd is the consultant for the environmental impact assessment study. The public hearing will be held at an auditorium in Kalluvettankuzhy, near Vizhinjam. The purpose of the hearing is to collect input from the local community regarding potential pollution sources and their effects on the environment, including land, air, noise, water, and biological factors.

During the hearing, residents can express their concerns about the project either verbally or in writing. This process ensures that local opinions are considered in the environmental impact assessment. "Public hearings are a statutory process for all projects before presenting the report to the Centre. This will be a platform for people to record their views and suggestions about the second and third phases of the project. The pollution control board is facilitating it by presenting the executive summary of the project. Following the hearing, the suggestions will be examined in detail, and a report will be prepared. That report will be submitted to the Centre to obtain clearance. The proceedings are going on at a fast pace," said Sreekumar K Nair, CEO of Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd.

Meanwhile, significant progress has been made on the first phase of the port. All 31 cranes, including eight ship-to-shore cranes, have been installed. Zhen Hua-34, the ship that delivered the four cranes, is expected to depart on Thursday or Friday. Only one more cantilever rail-mounted gantry crane (CRMG) remains to be installed. The 2,960-meter breakwater is complete, and 720 meters of the 800-meter berth for the first phase have been finished.

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