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Gopalpur port gets a booster

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 25: The Orissa government today pickedOrissa Stevedores Limited as its strategic operator for turning the fair-weather Gopalpur port in Ganjam district to an all-weather one.

The cabinet sub-committee on infrastructure development, which met here today under the chairmanship of chief minister Naveen Patnaik, approved the grant of lease to the consortium led by OSL on a 30-year-lease basis.

The OSL consortium comprising OSL, Noble Group (a leading port and infrastructure development utility) and Sera International (a trading house) was chosen over four other infrastructure development companies as its bid was found to be the highest. OSL would invest over Rs 700 crore in the port being modernised on build-operate-own-share-transfer (BOOST) basis.

Last year, five leading infrastructure-development companies, including mining major BHP-Billiton and Malaysia’s Integrax, Larsen & Toubro, Infrastructure Leasing Finance Services Limited and Orissa Stevedores Limited had expressed interest in developing the Gopalpur port in Orissa in response to a global tender floated by the state government.

While Billiton and Integrax had expressed their intention to develop the port on their own, the three others bid as members of separate consortiums. Rail India Techno Economic Services (RITES), adviser to the state government for the project, evaluated the bids in August last year.

Calcutta-based Srei Infrastructure Finance Limited assisted the state in identifying the strategic operator.

Gopalpur port is a fair weather, lighter age port which is operational only from October to March each year and has been handling cargo such as fertilisers, foodgrains and mineral materials of Indian Rare Earth Limited.

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