Orissa, KoPT conflict over boundary extension

Last Updated: Tue, Feb 01, 2011 20:22 hrs

Both the Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) and the Orissa government seems to be at loggerheads over the extension of the former’s operational limits.

After the Orissa government indicated that they were thinking of legal action over revision of the area of operations, the Kolkata port fired back saying that it was a ‘narrow view’ from the state and the port was ready to face a legal battle.

"It is a narrow view from the Orissa government and we are ready to face it legally. We are on a strong legal footing," said M L Meena, Chairman of KoPT. The Central government had recently extended the KoPT limits to cover the Kanika Sands too — adding an area of 28646 square kilometre in the Bay of Bengal.

"We have not encroached any area under Orissa, the Central government has only allotted this area for the development of our port. This should help KoPT undertake transloading operation for dry bulk cargo throughout the year — monsoon months in Kanika Sands and dry season in the Sandheads, the mouth of the Hooghly River," said a top KoPT official who does not want to be named.

However, after the area became a part of the Kolkata port recently, the Orissa government came out in public against this.

"We have shot off a strong letter to the Centre on the issue of extension of limits of KoPT. If the Centre fails to respond and take appropriate action, we may move court over the issue," B K Patnaik, Orissa chief secretary said on Monday.

This addition is expected to affect the traffic at Dhamra port in the Bhadrak district of Orissa — a joint venture between Tata Steel and Larsen & Toubro.

The state Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is expected to raise the issue with the Union minister for shipping G K Vasan.

"Orissa government is batting for some private players. They are not looking at national interest to revive one of the oldest ports in Eastern India," the KoPT official added.

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