The Government on Tuesday approved a proposal to build a major port at Enayam near Colachel in Tamil Nadu, entailing an investment of about Rs 25,000 crore. “The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given in-principle approval for setting up a Major port at Enayam near Colachel in Tamil Nadu,” the Ministry of Shipping said in a statement.
A special purpose vehicle (SPV) will be formed with initial equity investment from the three major Ports in Tamil Nadu — VO Chidambaranar Port Trust, Chennai Port Trust, and Kamarajar Port Ltd, the statement added. The special purpose vehicle will develop the port infrastructure including dredging and reclamation, construction of breakwater, ensuring connectivity links etc, it added.
A Shipping Ministry official said the project entails an investment of about Rs 25,000 crore and phase 1 will be implemented at a cost of Rs 6,575 crore. The official added that private operators will invest about Rs 2,500 crore for the development of terminal berths, yard and equipment in the first phase.
At present, there are only a few ports in India that have sufficient draft and can match global cargo handling efficiencies. “Currently, all of India’s trans-shipment traffic gets handled in Colombo, Singapore and other international ports. The Indian port industry loses out up to Rs 1,500 crore of revenue each year,” the statement said.
Establishing this major port at Enayam will not only act as a major gateway container port for Indian cargo that is trans-shipped outside the country, but also become a transshipment hub for the global East-West trade route, it said.
Enayam will reduce logistics cost for exporters and importers in South India who depend on trans-shipment in Colombo or other ports thus incurring additional port handling charges. The project has been pending for long and was opposed by local fishermen.
Last month accusing DMK and Congress MLAs of instigating innocent fishermen against the Colachel Commercial Port project, Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways Pon Radhakrishnan had said he would even resign and launch an agitation for its implementation.
“The Colachel project is a dream project of the Kanyakumari people. The Centre has allocated Rs 25,000 crore for the project. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is keen on successful implementation of the project,” he has said in Kanyakumari. “If this type of politics continue, I will not mind resigning my ministership, with the blessings of the party leaders and launch an agitation,” Radhakrishnan, who represents Kanyakumari in Lok Sabha had added.