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Govt land for cargo hub

Haldia, Dec. 13: The Haldia Development Authority (HDA) today handed over 198 acres to Haldia Free Trade Warehousing Pvt Ltd to set up a international cargo hub in the port town.

Haldia Free Trade Warehousing Pvt Ltd is a joint venture of the private firm Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) and the public sector Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation of India (MMTC).

An HDA statement said: “Multi-commodity superior-standard warehouses and customised blending, repacking and re-labelling units will be built. The cargo hub will also have an intelligent warehouse-management system (and) a world-class exhibition and trade-facilitation centre backed by superior infrastructure. The project is expected to cost around Rs 800 crore.”

HDA officials said the project would be implemented in two phases. The first phase will be commissioned in 2016-17 and the second in 2019.

HDA chairman Subhendu Adhikari today signed a 99-year lease agreement with Haldia Free Trade Warehousing Pvt Ltd at the authority’s office in Haldia this evening.

The plot, which was acquired by the previous Left Front government in 2006, is part of the HDA’s land bank.

Adhikari, the Trinamul Congress MP from Tamluk, said: “Despite being a port (town), Haldia did not have such an international cargo hub. Haldia needed this cargo hub. It will directly employ around 300 people and indirectly provide jobs to around 1,000.”

The vice-president of IL&FS, Sudip Dutta, said work would start “as soon as possible”.

“We will complete work on the first phase of the project by 2016-17,” he added. MMTC director Ved Prakash was also present at today’s programme.

HDA officials said Haldia Free Trade Warehousing Pvt Ltd had paid Rs 36 crore as the initial lease amount.

The chief executive officer of the HDA, P. Ulaganathan, said: “Now that the lease agreement has been signed, they (the project promoter) will pay a rent for the land every year. However, it will not be possible to say what the rent will be as some calculations will have to be done.”