|Adani group chief Gautam Adani at secretariat in Bhubaneswar on Monday. Telegraph picture
Bhubaneswar, Aug. 18: Adani group chief Gautam Adani today called on chief minister Naveen Patnaik and sought the state government’s support to expedite expansion of its newly acquired port at Dhamra in Bhadrak district and setting up a thermal plant at Chendipada in Angul district.
The Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) acquired the Dhamra Port Company Limited (DPCL) from Larsen and Turbo and Tata Steel for Rs 5,500 crore in May.
The meeting with the chief minister has fuelled speculation about Adani turning his focus on Odisha.
“We are going to work soon on the expansion of the port. Our vision is to build it on the scale of Mundra port (in Gujarat),” said Adani.
After acquiring the port, Adani had said that expansion would be initiated within 90 days while he set a 30 months deadline to complete the project.
Chief of DPCL Santosh Mohapatra said: “The state government has already provided 700 acres for the expansion of the existing port. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology and a conducive business environment, the port is poised to become the biggest and most efficient on the east coast of India.”
The DPCL will set up 15 berths and by 2020 it will be equipped to handle more than 100 MTPA of all types of cargoes including dry bulk, break bulk, liquid bulk and containerised freight. It is now handling 14.5 million tonnes of cargo per annum. The company has already constructed two fully mechanised berths of 350 meters each along with backup facilities for handling imports of coking coal, steam/thermal coal, limestone and export of iron ore. It has also built a 62km rail link from Dhamra to Bhadrak, the nearest town.
In its second phase of expansion, the port will set up six dry bulk berths, which includes the existing two. The DPCL has got environmental clearance for the development of 12 additional berths.
“These berths will mainly handle coal, limestone, iron ore and other dry bulk cargo. The dry bulk berths have been planned in the middle keeping in mind available back-up area and the distance between stackyard and berths. It will serve a bigger hinterland,” said a DPCL official.
Even though the Tata group has withdrawn from the project, Tata Steel will send at least 5 million tonnes of cargo annually through Dhamra for the next 15 years. Sources said it would route steel produced at its Kalinga Nagar plant through the port.
Adani group also plans to invest Rs 10,000 crore to build a 2,000MW pit-head power project and for the development and operation of the Chendipada coal block. The coal block has a mining capacity of 40MTPA.
The coal ministry had allotted the Chendipada coal block in Talcher coalfield with reserves of about 1,600MT jointly to Uttar Pradesh Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd, Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corporation Ltd and Maharashtra State Power Generation Company Ltd for captive mining of coal. Later, the three entities formed a joint venture UCM Coal Company Limited and awarded the rights to the Adani group for development of the mines.
Odisha Energy secretary P.K. Jena said: “The Adani group has not yet inked an MoU with the government to set up the plant.”
Official sources said that after a specific plan was chalked out, they would approach the state government for setting up the power plant. However, they would first focus on the expansion of the Dhamra port, officials said.