BJP wants Colachel port at any cost

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Chennai: The port project at Enayam near Colachel in Kanyakumari district in the state has assumed political overtones with the BJP here taking up a campaign on the benefits of the port. Even before the work on this trans-shipment project has started, the Enayam port project is giving Kerala the jitters.

Whether it would dwarf Kerala’s Vizhinjam port project remains to be seen. The indications are that Tamil Nadu’s project may outshine Vizhinjam port and could even rival the Colombo port, which has emerged as a major trans-shipment hub of South Asia due to handling containers meant for India. According to sources, small ships ferry the containers from Colombo to Indian ports on the east coast.

Capitalizing on this, the Kanyakumari district unit of the BJP has taken up a campaign in support of the project and it is finding support from the state unit as well. According to S. Muthukrishnan, Kanyakumari district president, BJP, the port has been a dream project for 60 years of the people. “As per the feasibility study, not only Kanyakumari district but also South Tamil Nadu will prosper. The district would have bright prospects to become highly industrialized if the port comes about,” he says.

Alleging that attempts were being made to divert the attention of the district fishermen that the project would affect their livelihood, he said apart from attracting new investments in various departments, the port would trigger the development of the fisheries sector.

BJP is unlikely to yield to Kerala because the Colachel port is among the poll assurances of the saffron party during the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha election. Union minister of state for road transport, highways, and shipping, Pon Radhakrishnan has the strong backing of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and also his senior cabinet colleague Nitin Gadkari.

Meanwhile, as per a study, the Enayam port would comprise of a 6 km breakwater and 5 km of piers with an anchor depth of 20 m, covering an area of 330 ha (the horizon year 2030).

The port has been designed for triple-E class container vessels and 1,20,000 DWT capacity Cape-size solid bulk vessels. Also, connectivity with the national transport network, high capacity road and rail links to the corresponding networks are also included in the project. As per the work carried out by TYPSA, in partnership with BCG, the container terminal has been designed with the latest automation technology for container handling equipment to ensure excellent operational productivity and efficiency.