The Odisha government intends to invite bids for the first riverine port in the state by April. The port is likely to come up at the Mahanadi river mouth near Paradeep close to the operational facilities of Essar Steel Odisha Ltd and Indian Farmers Fertilisers Cooperative Ltd (Iffco).
“The bidding process for the riverine port is expected to start by March/April and we hope to award construction orders by June. Water and Power Consultancy Services (WAPCOS) is preparing the detailed project report (DPR) for the port,” said secretary (commerce & transport) G Mathivathanan.
The riverine port is being taken up with assistance from the Planning Commission. A team of the Planning Commission is scheduled to visit the selected port site next week.
“The Planning Commission is providing us hand holding support for the port project. The panel will prepare the model concession agreement and also other documents like Request for Proposal (RFP) and Request for Qualification (RFQ),” Mathivathanan said.
Last week, the state government had entered into an agreement with WAPCOS. WAPCOS will conduct the techno-economic feasibility study for the proposed port that will see an initial investment of Rs 500 crore.
If found technically feasible and financially viable, the project will be awarded to the successful bidder selected through a competitive bidding process. The report on the feasibility study is expected to be submitted by March 15, 2014. WAPCOS will be paid Rs 1.4 crore for the consultancy work. The project has been envisioned as a common user port for different industries. Since the riverine port has been planned at the Mahanadi river mouth, the commerce & transport department has urged the Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Idco) to keep in abeyance the handing over of the land adjoining to the river to Indian Farmers Fertilisers Cooperative Ltd (Iffco) and Essar Steel.
The riverine port in the state is modeled on a similar port built on the Tapti river mouth in Gujarat.
Recently, Paradeep Port Trust (PPT) had evinced interest in setting up a satellite port, identifying Bahuda Muhan near Gopalpur in south Odisha as a suitable location. PPT was open to developing the port through the joint venture (JV) route with the state government. PPT was looking to ramp up its cargo handling capacity to 250 million tonne by 2020 from 106 million tonne presently.
The state government had identified 14 locations for development of non-major port projects. Of these locations, a deep sea port planned at Barunei Muhan in Kendrapara district has been shelved owing to threat to mass nesting site of Olive Ridley turtles.
Only two non-major ports at Dhamra and Gopalpur have commenced operations. Dhamra port, an equal JV between L&T and the Tatas has already seen grounding of investment of Rs 3,600 crore in the first phase of its commercial operations that began in May 2011.