Indian business tycoon Gautam Adani and his conglomerate will transform a 25-year-old port plan into reality. Adani’s company is building India’s first trans-shipment port. The project will have support from the PM Narendra Modi-led BJP government which has chalked out a parallel plan to construct another $4-billion facility adjacent to the port.
Gautam Adani, the chairman of the Adani Group, will be receiving Rs 16 crore as aid to work on the new port at Kerala’s Vizhinjam. The project is important for India because the upcoming port will bring onshore cargo handling business home, which is currently taken care at entre-ports in Dubai and Singapore.
The Vizhinjam port is going to cost Gautam Adani $1 billion. The port is going to change the way cargo traffic operates; the new port will save Indian companies billions of dollars in maritime transport. Adani’s port, that will be operational by 2018, will be India’s answer to the Chinese facilities in the region.
The Kerala-based port will have berths for India’s Navy and Coastguard. India has been wary of China building up ports across various parts of South Asia: Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives and the Gwadar seaport at the China-Pakistan economic corridor.
In July, when the Modi government waived off the Rs 200-crore fine imposed on the Adani Port for causing environmental damage, tongues had started wagging. Adani was accused of practising crony capitalism because he was the ‘blue-eyed boy’ of the PM. Critics alleged that Adani’s friendship with Modi has a lot to do with his rapid expansion in business.
Both the Gujarati men have a very symbiotic relationship. When Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat, huge land plots were given to the Adani group at unbelievably subsidised prices (Re 1-Rs 16/ sq m) to set up the Mundra port. The company won 30-year-leases for acquiring 7,350 hectare land around Mundra.
With the Vizhinjam port, Adani is going to change the common perception that he is a mere businessman. Earlier, he had refuted that fines imposed on his company, saying there was no legal basis. The Adani group currently trade in over 30 commodities across 28 countries.
Contrary to the popular belief that Adani is a businessman to the core, his company does quite a lot of philanthropic work. The Adani foundation operates across six states in India, where Gautam Adani and his wife are setting up schools, promoting community health and growth, development of rural areas and helping people learn skills to earn and maintain livelihood.
And this is coming from a man, listed by Forbes as the 11th richest man in India.