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20 days on, Kerala cancels fisheries sector MoU with foreign firm

The project has been at various stages of discussions and vetting since 2019, but the protest triggered by the Opposition against “entry of foreign entities to the state’s marine sector” is seen as having forced the government to backtrack.

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram |
February 23, 2021 1:35:42 am
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan

The Kerala government on Monday cancelled the 20-day-old MoU it had entered with EMCC International India Limited for manufacturing 400 deep sea fishing vessels and development of fishing harbours at a cost of Rs 2,950 crore.

The project has been at various stages of discussions and vetting since 2019, but the protest triggered by the Opposition against “entry of foreign entities to the state’s marine sector” is seen as having forced the government to backtrack.

A government communication said the deal between Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC), a state government entity, and EMCC would stand cancelled. Additional chief secretary T K Jose would look into the circumstances that made KSINC to go ahead with the deal.

On February 2, KSINC entered into the deal with EMCC. The deal envisaged several schemes for modernising the fishing sector.

EMCC India president Shiju M Varghese blamed the state government’s approach. “We don’t know on what basis the MoU was cancelled. If the project was not in tune with the fisheries policy, why did the government fail to intimate us. We had incurred a huge cost by going ahead with the project since 2019,” he said.

Varghese also asked, “Was the (fisheries) minister not aware of the state fisheries policy?”

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