The Union Ministry for Environment and Forests has cleared terms of reference for an environment impact study for the proposed Vizhinjam international seaport and container transhipment terminal in Kerala.
The Rs 5,000-crore-plus project has already undergone three rounds of tendering, and had reached the request-for-proposal stage when uncertainty on the study and related clearances crept in.
The Union Minister also announced that Kerala would set up a State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority and a separate State Expert Appraisal Committee to clear quickly projects in the state itself.
Unlike in Orissa, the groundswell of support cutting across party and creed lines for the Vizhinjam international seaport and container transhipment terminal project was evident in an interaction the visiting Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh had with representatives of local people in June.
At the end of the day, they managed to convince him into approving the terms of reference for the Environmental Impact Assessment study, which was announced to newspersons later in the Capital.