The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mittals drop anchor for shaky Silverjet

Calcutta, Aug. 11: DCPL is in talks to sell Silverjet, the floundering catamaran service along the Hooghly to Haldia that now faces the prospect of running aground.

Among the suitors which have been in talks are the London-based steel sultan L. . Mittal, the magnate who could use the cruiser to pamper his fat-cats. Sources say technicians from the group have already sized up the catamaran, grounded for close to a year now.

There was no confirmation from DCPL and the L.. Mittal group despite several attempts by The Telegraph.

Sources say the Mittals, who own the world’s second-largest steel firm, would take the catamaran abroad after buying it. “It may not serve commercial purposes. If they buy it, the Mittals will use it to entertain their managers, spread across more than 12 countries,” a senior official in the Silverjet project said.

The other prospective buyer is Sahara India, which would like to turn the catamaran into a liner that houses clubs, discos and other frills that help entice tourists pining for a pleasure-cruise in the Sunderbans.

It took DCPL Rs 12 crore when it started the Calcutta-Haldia Silverjet in 1996. But the venture became a losing proposition from the time it set sail, as the fastest travel option to the south Bengal port town struggled to find enough passengers to keep it going.

From five days a week in the initial stages, the service hit choppy waters as poor patronage combined with frequent technical snags to sink all chances of viability.

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