The Vizhinjam, Kollam, Beypore, and Azheekal mini-ports are on the path of being developed to their potential while more maritime academies are getting ready for inauguration, V.J. Mathew, Chairman of the Kerala Maritime Board (KMB), has said.
The board will acquire 500 acres in Azheekal to develop the port, while dredging to ensure 7 m depth is nearing completion. Similarly, capital dredging that was done as part of Sagaramala project was over in Beypore. The revenue during the past nine months was ₹100 crore, which was much more than that during the pre-2018 period when the board did not exist. In addition, over 150 ships carried out their crew change, bunkering etc., at Vizhinjam since July 2020, he said.
On the controversy over Prakash Iyer, a member of KMB stepping down, Mr. Mathew said that this occurred after his resignation was sought. “He tainted the image of the board and of the government, thus hampering its functioning.”
The board’s vice chairperson had stepped down earlier.
Mr. Iyer said that the board’s functioning was marred by strife between stakeholders – especially with employees who managed port and allied matters prior to the KMB’s formation.
“I, along with many others strove to bring in more ships and lessen the logistical cost. I am even now working on that with Cochin Port Trust. The KMB could achieve little, although trade members extended support and Central funds under the Sagaramala project could be availed. Moreover, I preferred to report to the State government rather than to anybody else. The government has not accepted my resignation,” he said.
Even now, a tie-up can be made with Food Corporation of India (FCI) to establish warehouses along the coast. The vast coastline presented us with umpteen possibilities, Mr. Iyer said.