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Old August 21st, 2012, 07:14 AM   #2221
ajithv
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Source: Kerala Kaumudi

Quote:
Mr. Babu said it was surprising to see the hoteliers and those in the tourism industry coming out against the ICTT at Vizhinjam when the environment studies were nearing completion and public hearing was to commence.

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If the minister thinks he is a responsible minister, he should expose the names of those hotels
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Old August 21st, 2012, 07:15 AM   #2222
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Vizhinjam port will be a reality, says K. Babu

Ports Minister K. Babu has said that the State government will not allow any move to scuttle the Vizhinjam port project to succeed.

At a function organised by the Federation of Residents’ Association, Thiruvananthapuram here on Monday, Mr. Babu said a few tourism stakeholders had met him recently with what they thought would happen to their business if the port were to come up. He asked them what they had been doing till now, when a considerable amount of work had gone into bringing this important project to fruition.

He said their response was that they had not believed so far it was going to happen. “A concerted effort was now going on to resist the project. I do not want to name who all are behind the negative propaganda,” he said. He added that the interests involved might be that of a very few individuals, or might even be international in nature. Many people might have motives to scuttle the project.

He said another question now being raised was why the government had not accepted the offer of a consortium led by Welspun Infratech for taking up the port operator’s role at Vizhinjam. Mr. Babu said this consortium was the only bidder who was given security clearance by the Union government. The problem was that the consortium was demanding a grant of Rs. 479.5 crore over 15 years to operate the port.

He said the decision not to accept the bid was taken after due deliberations, studies, consultations, negotiations and considered advice. Two factors should be taken note of. First, the role of the port operator would come only after the basic infrastructure had fallen into place. This was the responsibility of the State government. Work on this could begin only after the project had received environmental clearance. Next month would witness the public hearing that was part of the process of winning environmental clearance.

He said immediately upon winning the environmental clearance the government would float EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) tenders to start work on the basic port infrastructure. With respect to selecting the port operator, there was time. The State should get the best deal, Mr. Babu said.

Describing the logic of dropping the Welspun offer (even after the grant demand was scaled down to Rs. 399.5 crore during negotiations), Mr. Babu said the expected winning of environmental clearance, lining up of the EPC contracts and exemption for Cabotage regulations for Vizhinjam (for which the State was exerting pressure at the Centre), would draw more business interest than at present in taking up the port operator’s role there. “We are sure we will get a better deal,” he said.
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Old August 21st, 2012, 07:20 AM   #2223
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VISL dispels concerns raised by tourism operators

Vizhinjam International Seaport Limited (VISL), the State government entity overseeing the planning and execution of the Vizhinjam port, said here on Monday that concerns raised by tourism operators about the impact the project could have on their business prospects were premature and based on some preliminary study reports.

In a press release, VISL Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer A.S. Suresh Babu said an all-season data collection for a comprehensive Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) of the proposed project had been completed in June this year.

This was done as per the terms of reference fixed by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).

The data collected pertained to fisheries, tourism, social and environmental issues, shoreline morphology and ocean dynamics. These were all as required by the Union MoEF.

Data collection was done through Asian Consulting Engineers (India) Ltd and L&T Ramboll Consulting Engineers India Ltd, both having the accreditation of the MoEF as ESIA consultants.


They had done the work in association with the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute and the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services.

More than a dozen group-level public interactions and discussions were conducted with stakeholders and more than 6,000 households in the area were surveyed to collect data relating to social impact factors. The data assimilation process was done in a very transparent and participatory manner, he said.

He informed that the data analysis was now going on so as “to arrive at definitive decisions leading to the drafting of the ESIA report, which, along with the data on the topographic survey, will go as the input for the optimisation of the Integrated Port Master Plan incorporating all environmental and social concerns into engineering requirements.”
Quote:
VISL allays concerns of tourism sector

Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd (VISL) has urged the tourism sector to refrain from arriving at ‘preset’ conclusions with regards to the Vizhinjam seaport project as they could delay the project.

VISL officials, in a statement here, said that the detailed project report and the environmental impact assessment report will be published soon, in which the concerns will be addressed.

The VISL statement has come in response to a resolution passed by the Kerala Hotel and Restaurant Association (KHRA) which said that the multi-crore project will spell doom for the two-decade-old tourism on the Kovalam-Vizhinjam-Poovar belt. The concerns now raised are ‘’premature relying on some preliminary study reports,’’ VISL CEO A S Suresh Babu said.

As per guidelines and terms of reference issued by the Ministry of Environment & Forests, (MoEF), a one year, all season data collection for a Comprehensive Environmental and Social impact Assessment (ESIA) for the project has been completed. This was done through Asian Consulting Engineers (India) Ltd and L&T Ramboll Consulting Engineers India Ltd, in association with the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), Vizhinjam, and Indian National Centre for Ocean information Services (iNCOIS), Hyderabad.

The data collected pertains to sectors including fisheries, tourism, social, environment, shoreline morphology, ocean dynamics, marine modelling etc, as required by the MoEF, according to the VISL. Over a dozen group-level public interactions and discussions and house-to-house social surveys from more than 6,000 households/stakeholders were performed.

‘’The data analysis is being performed to arrive at definitive decisions leading to the drafting of ESIA report which, along with the data on detailed topographic survey, will go as input for optimisation of Integrated Port Master Plan incorporating all environmental & social concerns into engineering requirements,’’ Suresh Babu said.

Based on the ESIA report and Integrated Port Master Plan and other study reports like marine geophysical and geotechnical surveys, mathematical modelling studies, shore line change studies etc, a Detailed Project Report (DPR) will be prepared, VISL said.

Last edited by ajithv; August 21st, 2012 at 11:12 AM.
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Old August 21st, 2012, 08:26 AM   #2224
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Originally Posted by ajithv View Post
Vizhinjam port will be a reality, says K. Babu

Ports Minister K. Babu has said that the State government will not allow any move to scuttle the Vizhinjam port project to succeed.

At a function organised by the Federation of Residents’ Association, Thiruvananthapuram here on Monday, Mr. Babu said a few tourism stakeholders had met him recently with what they thought would happen to their business if the port were to come up. He asked them what they had been doing till now, when a considerable amount of work had gone into bringing this important project to fruition.

He said their response was that they had not believed so far it was going to happen. “A concerted effort was now going on to resist the project. I do not want to name who all are behind the negative propaganda,” he said. He added that the interests involved might be that of a very few individuals, or might even be international in nature. Many people might have motives to scuttle the project.

He said another question now being raised was why the government had not accepted the offer of a consortium led by Welspun Infratech for taking up the port operator’s role at Vizhinjam. Mr. Babu said this consortium was the only bidder who was given security clearance by the Union government. The problem was that the consortium was demanding a grant of Rs. 479.5 crore over 15 years to operate the port.

He said the decision not to accept the bid was taken after due deliberations, studies, consultations, negotiations and considered advice. Two factors should be taken note of. First, the role of the port operator would come only after the basic infrastructure had fallen into place. This was the responsibility of the State government. Work on this could begin only after the project had received environmental clearance. Next month would witness the public hearing that was part of the process of winning environmental clearance.

He said immediately upon winning the environmental clearance the government would float EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) tenders to start work on the basic port infrastructure. With respect to selecting the port operator, there was time. The State should get the best deal, Mr. Babu said.

Describing the logic of dropping the Welspun offer (even after the grant demand was scaled down to Rs. 399.5 crore during negotiations), Mr. Babu said the expected winning of environmental clearance, lining up of the EPC contracts and exemption for Cabotage regulations for Vizhinjam (for which the State was exerting pressure at the Centre), would draw more business interest than at present in taking up the port operator’s role there. “We are sure we will get a better deal,” he said.
If that happens next time for sure I will vote for him.
Evenif I have to transfer my Voter Id card to his constituency.
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Old August 21st, 2012, 10:50 AM   #2225
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Originally Posted by Tri Man View Post
If that happens next time for sure I will vote for him.
Evenif I have to transfer my Voter Id card to his constituency.
If Vizhinjam became a reality many people in his district will vote against his party.
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Old August 21st, 2012, 01:46 PM   #2226
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It is difficult to understand how the tourism will be affected due to new port project. VISL should be able to dispel most of the fears during the public hearing. Even if some specific requets can not be accepted, they can demonstrate to MoEF how the project is important for overall development of the region and growth of India and get EC.
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Old August 22nd, 2012, 10:44 AM   #2227
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Action



Source: Mangalam

Reaction



Source: Mangalam
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Old August 22nd, 2012, 10:46 AM   #2228
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VISL to publish eco-impact report

With a view to allaying concern being expressed by the tourism industry, the Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd (VISL) would publish a comprehensive environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) report soon.

VISL CEO A.S. Suresh Babu told DC that all the seasonal data collection for ESIA was completed by July. This was as per the guidelines and terms of reference issued by the ministry of environment and forests in July, 2011, he said.

“It is premature for the tourism industry to rely on preliminary study reports for arriving at conclusions. This would result in delays.

The VISL will publish the detailed project report (DPR) and ESIA soon. The concerns of the industry will be addressed in the reports, he said.

The one-year-long all-season data collection for the ESIA was done through Asian consulting engineers (India) and L&T Ramboll Consulting Engineers India, in association with the Central Marine Fish-eries Research Institute, Vizhinjam, and Indian National Centre for Ocean information Services, Hyderabad.

Study reports like the ones on marine geophysical and geotechnical surveys, mathematical modelling studies will be readied, Suresh Babu said.
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Old August 23rd, 2012, 08:06 AM   #2229
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മനോരോഗി ഇപ്പോഴാണ്* വിവരം അറിഞ്ഞത്



Source: Malayala Manorama
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Old August 23rd, 2012, 09:03 AM   #2230
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Government submits resurvey report on rail realignment

Obstacles in land acquisition has forced the state government to look for a new alignment for a rail link for the multi-crore Vizhinjam container transshipment terminal project.

A new proposal suggests linking the port with Nemom instead of Neyyatinkara. The Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL), the consultant appointed by government company Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd (VISL) for finalising the rail connectivity has conducted a survey in this regard and submitted its report, which has been forwarded to the Railway.

VISL is now awaiting approval of the railway. “The earlier alignment was Vizhinjam port to Neyyatinkara via Balaramapuram. But there are some issues including two or three old temples, of which one is said to be centuries old. We are comfortable with the new alignment,” VISL CEO A S Suresh Babu said.

The new alignment will shorten the connectivity to the main line from 15 kms to approximately 13 kms.
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Old August 25th, 2012, 01:09 AM   #2231
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Hotel Lobby tries new tricks....

Quote:
At a time when the State is gearing up for Emerging Kerala 2012 Global Investors Meet, a controversy has erupted on the southern coast with a section of hoteliers and scientists questioning the financial and environmental feasibility of Rs 6,596 crore International Transshipment Terminal at Vizhinjam.

A section of hotel industry raised apprehensions about its adverse impact on tourism sector triggering a debate on the project’s environmental and financial feasibility.

Leading the campaign are people engaged in hospitality business on the Kovalam- Vizhinjam - Poovar belt. They have backed their arguments with a series of studies conducted by scientists.

So why did the hotel industry rake up the issue especially after so much of work has gone into the project? Well this is one question that even Port Minister K. Babu posed to a delegation of hoteliers recently.

Their answer was fairly simple. “Till now we never believed that the project would see the light of the day.’’
This makes it extremely clear that this is a sare tactic with paid "scientists" and "environmentalists" with extremely vested interests.

Quote:
Many scientists say there’s a need for a thorough and cautious Environment Impact Assessment study in Vizhinjam area by experts from institutions of repute.
Who are these "scientists"? Aren't they informed enough to understand that a detailed EIA was in progress and has now been completed?

Quote:
Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd (VISL) however says the concerns raised by hoteliers’ are premature. They promise that all fears would be allayed once the detailed project report and EIS comes out.

Several institutions, including Asian Consulting Engineers (India) Ltd and I and T Ramboll Consulting Engineers India Ltd, had carried out the study along with Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) and Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad.

Protect fish wealth, says marine scientist

Retired principal scientist of Central Marine Fisheries and Research Institute, Dr K.K. Appukuttan, has called for detailed studies on Vizinjam project’s impact on the environment, biodiversity and fish wealth in the area.
Who's paying Dr Appukuttan for his services?

Quote:
According to him large-scale construction associated with the project will cause huge damage to intertidal ecosystem. The piling work, reclamation of coastal area for berthing space and dredging for ship channel will lead to heavy silting and sediment transport in and around Vizhinjam, including the bank areas resulting in massive biodiversity loss.
Why isn't Dr Appukkuttan's heart bleeding for other major dredging, reclamation and marine construction projects in Kerala? Some with much larger material volumes than Vizhinjam and located in or near ecologically fragile mangrove forests?

Quote:
Dr Appukuttan points out that Vizhinjam - Poovar area is the most significant fishing ground on the southern coast of Thiruvananthapuram.
Besides, the coastal zone also has important fish landing centres like Vizhinjam and Admilathura.

The proposed project will displace large numbers of fishermen; prevent access to fishing grounds and landing centres causing irreversible damage to these areas. Moreover Vizhinjam coast is a rich fishing ground for commercially important fish— perch, squid, cuttle fish, mackerels, tuna, anchovies and lobsters.

Coastal erosion studies made by national research institutions have clearly indicated that this area is ecologically fragile and subject to constant erosion especially during monsoon.
This is a clear attempt to stoke up tensions with the fisher folk and to use them as weapons against the project. When the truth is that the project occupies a very small stretch along the coast and will not affect landing centers such as the fishing harbor next door. If at all, the construction of the main breakwater creates an opportunity to expand the basin of the fishing harbor.

Quote:
Hoteliers’ concerns premature: VISL

Already one-year all-season data collection for comprehensive environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) has been completed on the basis of guidelines and terms of reference issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).

More than a dozen group-level public interactions and discussions were conducted with stakeholders and more than 6,000 households in the area surveyed to collect data relating to social impact factors. The data assimilation process was done in a very transparent and participatory manner. The data analysis was on.

As per Fugro Geophysical Survey: There will not be any rock blasting in the area where dredging activities need to be carried out. Experts say the sand bed features in the area clearly reveal that rock blasting is not required during dredging.

Only 120 hectares of land has to be acquired for the port project including road connectivity, truck terminal, back up area and rail connectivity.
Unfortunately the hotliers and their cronies seem least interested in facts.

Quote:
Concerns raised

Project will dispel foreign tourists who like to stay at hotels and resorts dotting the Kovalam-Vizhinjam Poovar stretch. Irreparable damage to the environment will kill tourism potential permanently.

Frequent arrival of big ships will disturb the peace and tranquility in the area which boasts of nearly 40 beach resorts, including ayurveda rejuvenation centres, small and medium hotels.
Lol, what, the ships will sound their big horns and disturb the tourists? Someone should send these "experts" to Sentosa Island that attracts more international tourists than the whole of Kerala, right in the middle of the busiest harbor in the world with hundreds of big ships moving around each day.

Quote:
Fate of 5,000 odd people who depend on the hotel industry for their livelihood, hangs in balance.
Yes, their livelihoods would be a little bit more secure with all those high-paying cruise tourists around.

Quote:
Hoteliers quote World Bank report to suggest project is unviable.Of the Rs 27,500 crore expected to be generated by the port in 30 years, the government will get only Rs 2,500. Compare it with the total investment of Rs 6000 crore.
Source

I am happy that at least the hoteliers are paying attention to the IFC (not World Bank) project report, something that GoK and VISL obviously failed to do.

On that note, the direct recovery through taxes and fees would be only a fraction of the revenue to the State and Central Governments through indirect taxes and so on. At least they admit that the port will generate a few bucks, even though the report itself grossly underestimates the project's benefits!

Let GoK name the hoteliers involved in this propaganda exercise to derail the most important infrastructure project in the State's history. That might be tricky given the links some of them have to key figures amongst the high-and-mighty.
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Old August 25th, 2012, 01:47 AM   #2232
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[QUOTE=Ajaypp;94478468]This makes it extremely clear that this is a sare tactic with paid "scientists" and "environmentalists" with extremely vested interests.



True, it is easy to find so called 'scientists' and 'environ-MENTALISTS' in India, especially in God's Own Country, and they can be easily hired by various mafia.
I don't get why these resort/hotel guys are worried, after all a port will be bringing in hundreds of Sailers (Mr. Popeyes) for their massage businesses.
And the fishermen folks will see tremendous opportunities for export of their catch and thus help bring more wealth to them.
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Old August 25th, 2012, 01:50 AM   #2233
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There is no local aam-admi opposition thats usually seen with a project of this scale. And I guess the various lobbies have been unsuccesful in stirring it up.
Atleast the lobbying is in the open now.
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Old August 25th, 2012, 02:28 AM   #2234
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It would have benefited the local tourism industry substantially if they had shown the same amount of application of mind, same amount of passion and the same intensity of hard work for promoting Kovalam – Poovar belt as a brand.
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Old August 25th, 2012, 02:41 AM   #2235
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It would have benefited the local tourism industry substantially if they had shown the same amount of application of mind, same amount of passion and the same intensity of hard work for promoting Kovalam – Poovar belt as a brand.
+1

Do they spend a single paisa creating and promoting a destination brand for Kovalam/Trivandrum? Do they lobby for improving air connectivity? Do they invest in improving infrastructure?

Absolutely NO, not when they can spend money and time on opposing the one project which could lift them out a mediocre future.

Elementary!
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Old August 28th, 2012, 08:45 AM   #2236
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Originally Posted by ajithv View Post
Vizhinjam port will be a reality, says K. Babu

Ports Minister K. Babu has said that the State government will not allow any move to scuttle the Vizhinjam port project to succeed.

He said immediately upon winning the environmental clearance the government would float EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) tenders to start work on the basic port infrastructure. With respect to selecting the port operator, there was time. The State should get the best deal, Mr. Babu said.
There appears to be a genuine support to the project from locals including fishermen. This is very rare in Indian scenario. In that case, tourism lobby's pressure if any will not matter.

The date for Environmental Public Hearing (EPH) may be announced any time now. All the supporters including fishermen shall attend the EPH. Any attempt by any lobby to scuttle the project shall be strongly opposed during the meeting. DC will be recording the meeting Live and report to MoEF. All the best!
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Old September 7th, 2012, 04:04 PM   #2237
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Resort owners itching again.

Quote:
The Kerala hotel and restaurant association (KHRA) has written to the ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) seeking a relook at the methodology used by Asian Consulting Engineers Pvt Ltd (ACE) while collating data for their environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) study of the proposed international container transshipment terminal at Vizhinjam.

While ACE is yet to finalize its ESIA report, those in the tourism trade have questioned the accuracy of the data collated by L&T Rambol, which the KHRA claims to have served as the basis of the ESIA study.

The KHRA in a letter written by Thiruvananthapuram unit president G Sudhiesh Kumar addressing the expert appraisal committee on CRZ (MoEF) chairman Naraesh Dayal and MoEF director Lalit Kapur said, "The report says only three resorts will be affected in the project location, while there are 31. L&T Rambol, who is the main EIA consultant for Vizhinjam international seaport limited (VISL), has not even once consulted a single member of the tourism sector."

A few members of the KHRA who had assisted the ACE team in their interview process have complained that no one in the ACE team could speak the local language, which might have compromised the quality of the interview process. Meanwhile ACE chairman Suparna Mallick said, "We cannot address each and everyone's problem. My team was there for three months. Why did they not speak up then? This is a draft report. Once the report is presented to the public, the stakeholders will be given a chance to debate our findings," she said.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/c...w/16294119.cms
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Old September 7th, 2012, 08:52 PM   #2238
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I am surprised that these folks are getting so audacious. Sadly, if only they had spent as much time promoting the region as a tourism destination, they'd be in much better shape now.

L&T Ramboll seems to be the technical consultant for the EIA and they don't exactly have to talk to resort owners when they do hydrodynamic modeling and sediment transport studies do they? The tourism sector isn't exactly famous for their geo-technical and marine engineering skills.

ACE seems to be the consultant for the socio-economic component of the EIA, and they seem to have interviewed these folks. I'd be surprised that resort owners who have to deal with non-local language speaking tourists couldn't make their case to the study team unless the latter only spoke a dialect of Swahili, which seems highly unlikely!

Last edited by Ajaypp; September 7th, 2012 at 09:02 PM.
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Old September 8th, 2012, 03:36 AM   #2239
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The determination they exhibit is enthralling. Wonder why such determination always surface only to destroy and not to construct.
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Old September 8th, 2012, 02:52 PM   #2240
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Cabotage Relaxation for ICTT Cochin is good news for Vizhinjam also. If ICTT traffic increase substantially in next one year on account of cabotage relaxation, Vizhinjam bid for port operators will get better offers from competent operators.
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