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Shipping ministry to share 50% connectivity cost for minor ports

Jayajit Dash  |  Kolkata/ Bhubaneswar 

Minor port developers in Orissa have a reason to cheer as the Ministry of shipping and highways is likely to offer 50 per cent funding for road and rail connectivity for these upcoming ports.

"The Ministry of shipping and highways has more or less agreed to bear 50 per cent of the cost of road and rail connectivity for the minor ports proposed in the state. The ministry had asked us to submit cost estimates for the same and accordingly, we had submitted Rs 1200-crore plan for offering road and rail connectivity for the upcoming minor ports", an official source told Business Standard.

According to the proposal, the cost of rail and road connectivity for the minor ports would be shared equally between the Centre and the port developers.

Earlier, the state government had requested the Union ministry of shipping to introduce a policy so as to provide rail and road connectivity to the minor ports as in the case of major ports.

The ministry which had constituted a committee for this purpose had come out with a cost sharing formula according to which the cost for developing rail and road connectivity for the minor ports would be shared between the Centre, the Orissa government and the port developers in the state in the ratio of 50:30:20.

However, the Orissa government had clarified it would not be in a position to bear the cost of developing the rail and road infrastructure for minor port projects.

Meanwhile, of all the minor ports proposed in the state, the Dhamara port has become operational and it is expected to handle 15 million tonnes of cargo this year.

For Ltd (DPCL) which has almost developed the rail link for its port project, the cost will be adjusted against the concession fees to be paid by the developer.

On the minor ports of Gopalpur and Subarnarekha,there are issues related to land acquisition which the state government expected to sort out soon.

The state government had recently asked the promoters of Gopalpur Port to commission second phase of the port operations by March 2013.

The state has witnessed grounding of investment of Rs 4262.44 crore from non-major ports in the past 10 years.

The investments have come from four minor port developers- Dhamara Port Company Ltd (DPCL), Gopalpur Port Ltd (GPL), Creative Port Development Ltd and Navayug Engineering Ltd from 2002-03 up to the end of September this year.

While DPCL had invested Rs 3570.35 crore till the end of September this year, Gopalpur Port Ltd (GPL), a special purpose vehicle promoted jointly by Orissa Stevedores Ltd and Sara International Limited (SIL) has invested Rs 421.09 crore during 2007-08 to September-end of 2011-12.

Among the 14 locations identified by the state government for the development of ports are Dhamara, Jatadhari Muhan, Barunei Muhan, Astaranga, Bichitrapur, Chudamani and Kirtania to name a few.

The state government had already inked concession agreements with the developers for the development of ports at Dhamara, Gopalpur and Kirtania.

The Orissa government has also signed MoUs (Memorandum of Understanding) with the Hyderabad-based Private Ltd and Aditya Birla Group for setting up of ports at Astaranga and Chudamani respectively.

First Published: Wed, November 23 2011. 00:37 IST