The Orissa government has relaxed a vital clause in its MoU with the Hyderabad based Navayuga Engineering Company Limited (NECL) enabling the latter to sign concession agreement with it for developing an all weather port at Astaranga in Puri district.
The chief minister Naveen Patnaik has approved a proposal of the state Commerce and Transport (C&T) department to allow the waiver of the clause no 6(b), also known as “clearance” clause, in the MoU.
The clause stated that the developer has to obtain all the statutory clearances before signing the concession agreement.
NECL had pleaded before the government that it should be allowed to sign the concession agreement without obtaining all the statutory clearances as was the case with other port developers who have signed similar pacts with the state government.
Expressing its desire to sign the concession agreement at the earliest so as to expedite the project work, the company had sought the waiver of this clause.
The company signed the MoU with the state government on 22 December 2008 and the concession agreement is required to be signed within a year unless extended by the state government.
Meanwhile, the government has prepared the draft concession agreement for the Astaranga port and it will be sent to the chief minister for in-principle approval, after which the draft will be sent for vetting by the finance and law departments before seeking comments of the developer on the draft.
NECL intends to invest Rs 1500 crore for the port project in the first phase, Rs 2000 crore in the second phase and Rs 2,500 crore in the third phase taking the total investment to Rs 6,000 crore.