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Court issues stay on Vizhinjam port contract


A divisional bench of the Kerala High Court has issued a stay on the development of the Rs5,000 crore Vizhinjam International Container transhipment port in Kerala, which was awarded to Hyderabad-based Lanco Infratech.

The ruling comes in response to a petition filed by Mumbai-based Zoom Developers, whose bid for the port project was disqualified on technical grounds.

The divisional bench has given 15 days to the evaluation committee to look into the tender quotations submitted by Zoom. Till such time no work will be undertaken at the port.

The order also mentions that if the bid submitted by the consortium Zoom Developers-Portia Management Services is technically qualified and financially superior, Lanco’s bid would be cancelled.

Minu Patriwala, vice president-infrastructure, Zoom Developers, said the company is confident of being awarded the project as their bid is financially and technically far better than Lanco’s.

The net present value of the bid submitted by Zoom was over Rs110 crore, as against Rs33 crore offered by Lanco, said Patriwala.

The Lanco-led consortium was awarded the project in May 2008. Lanco had tied-up with Pembinan Radzai Sdn Bhd (PRSB) of Malaysia to execute the work.

Zoom had filed a petition challenging the award of the contract to Lanco. “The Kerala government was very secretive in awarding the contract to Lanco and disqualifying us, when the same technical bid was approved earlier,” said Patriwala.

This was the second attempt to build the Vizhinjam port, when Kerala had floated the bid in August 2007 through Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd, on a 25-year concession basis.

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