KoPT keen on building port at Sagar Island

Last Updated: Sat, Jul 06, 2013 10:55 hrs

Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) on Friday declared that an official meeting among the Ministries of Shipping, Railways and Expenditure will take place next week to discuss the modalities of setting up a Special Purpose Vehicle to build up the ball rolling for the proposed port at Sagar Island in Delhi.

The Chairman of Kolkata Port Trust, R.P.S. Kahlon speaking at the 75th Annual General Meet of Calcutta Freight Brokers Association (CFBA), on Friday said, "The Sagar project is a big challenge in issue of connectivity that has to be sorted out previously. Availability of land is also an issue."

"Though we propose to reclaim nearly 1,000 hectares, yet some land still needs to be acquired. We have already held talks with the State Chief Secretary on this. The meeting in Delhi will sort out the preliminary issues," he said.

"We have been receiving threats from the Ministry of Expenditure and the Cabinet Secretariat that the dredging subsidy of nearly Rs 400 crore will gradually be done away with."

"RITES conducted a study which revealed that nearly 100 million tonnes of cargo will need to be handled by KoPT by 2019-20. Presently, we have a capacity of about 74 million tonnes. Ideally, a port performs best when operating at 70% capacity. There capacity augmentation is required," added Kahlon.

"We hope to start loading and have succeeded in convincing the Odisha government to allow us to use a deep-draughted area close to their coast."

Speaking about growth of revenue, he said, "Now, the Shipping Ministry is going through the proposal. This area will be part of the Paradip Port Trust and we will only pay them about Rs 4.50 per tonne as user charge."

"In return, we shall use this area between April and September when transloading will not be possible at the Sandheads due to choppy seas."

"Negotiations are also on with a private consortium that has submitted a bid for Shalukkhali. They have agreed to pay us 1% of gross revenue."

"We are trying to increase this and we also wants to outsource ship repairs at its five dry docks at the Netaji Subhas Docks in Kolkata. A Glasgow-based company has already expressed interest at this proposal that will gain revenue for the port," he said.

(Reporting by Bikram Roy)

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