Court dismisses KoPT's petition against HBT

Last Updated: Fri, Nov 02, 2012 14:40 hrs

Kolkata, Nov 2 (IANS) The Calcutta High Court Friday "dismissed as withdrawn" the petition of Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT), seeking resumption of work by Haldia Bulk Terminals (HBT).

Justice Sambuddha Chakraborty dismissed the application after petitioner KoPT made a plea to not press the petition.

Since HBT has already announced that it would not continue operations at Haldia Dock Complex, KoPT's application has become "infructuous", KoPT counsel Biswarup Gupta submitted before the court Friday.

HBT counsel S. Pal did not oppose the prayer.

The KoPT had moved the Calcutta High Court seeking permission to terminate its agreement with HBT, which stopped operations at the second and eighth berths of the dock complex following unrest over the retrenchment of 275 employees.

A joint venture between ABG Infralogistics and French company Louis Dreyfus Armateurs, HBT Oct 31 announced its immediate exit from the Haldia port in West Bengal's East Midnapore district, citing unsafe work conditions.

Meanwhile, reacting sharply to KoPT's threat that it might go for punitive action against HBT by not letting it move machines from Haldia Dock Complex, the port equipment operator said any such attempt would be "illegal" and tantamount to "theft".

"These assets are owned by the company. Any attempt to prevent us from moving them will be illegal and will tantamount to theft," HBT CEO Gurpreet Malhi said in a media statement here.

KoPT chairman Manish Jain, however, took a tough stand against HBT, saying its allegation of poor law and order situation at Haldia was "false, obnoxious and unacceptable" and an excuse to "run away".

"If they try to upset the agreement (with KoPT), then we will have to go for punitive action. According to the punitive action, we cannot allow the machines to go," Jain said.

On the allegation that HBT was looking for an excuse to exit the contract with KoPT, Malhi said: "We have consistently performed at more than the contracted productivity of 20,000 tpd (tones per day)/berth despite the cargo being available within Haldia Dock Complex".

Meanwhile, many poets, doctors and writers visited Haldia in the wake of the tussle.

More from Sify: