Bengal awards Tajpur port to Adani
The Bengal cabinet has decided to issue a letter of intent to Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ) to build a deep sea port at Tajpur, laying the ground for Rs 25,000-crore investment in the state. APSEZ was found the highest bidder for the port in an open auction conducted by the government in March.
Following the issue of LoI, the state government and Adani will sign the concession agreement for the port which may potentially create 25,000 direct and indirect jobs. The construction of the port, 18 kilometres of shipping channel and infrastructure on reclaimed land from dredging would require an investment of Rs 15,000 crore, to be pulled in by Adani. Another Rs 10,000 crore will be invested to create related infrastructure, which includes an industrial zone on a 1,000-acre plot, rail and road connectivity.
A statement from the state government estimated the net draft with tidal support to be around 16 meters, allowing cape-sized vessels with DWT (deadweight tonnage) of 100,000 tonnes to come to the proposed port. Announcing the cabinet decision, the state urban development minister Firhad Hakim said the port would usher in a new era of development in Bengal.
After the signing of the concession agreement, the developer has to get myriad approvals to set up the port. Apart from environment clearance, the developer needs security clearance from the Coast Guard and Indian Navy before it can start the construction of the port.
When developed, Tajpur would be Bengal’s first greenfield port in five decades after Haldia Dock Complex was set up in the 1960s. Due to siltation, large vessels — like the cape size — which are unable to come directly to berths at Haldia or Calcutta, can call in at the new port.
The state plans to link the industrial and economic corridor between Raghunathpur and Dankuni allowing industries based there quick and cost-efficient access to global trade. The port will also benefit the industries based elsewhere in Bengal, the eastern region, Nepal, Bhutan and the Northeast.
The Cabinet approval on Monday followed a reprieve received by APSEZ from the Supreme Court, saving India’s top private sector port operator from disqualification and ineligibility flowing from an old contract. Following the apex court judgement earlier this month, Syama Prasad Mookerjee (formerly Calcutta Port Trust) signed a concession agreement with APSEZ for a berth development at Haldia on Thursday.
APSEZ was found to be the H1 bidder in an auction conducted in March, ahead of JSW Infrastructure — first reported by The Telegraph — but the decision to go ahead was kept in abeyance because of legal issues. Adani group chairman Gautam Adani had met Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee in December last year to discuss investment options.
Billionaire Gautam Adani has said his group plans to double its cement manufacturing capacity and become the most profitable cement maker in the country.
Last week, the conglomerate completed the acquisition of Holcim’s cement operations in India represented by ACC and Ambuja Cements. The purchase catapulted him to become the second largest cement manufacturer in India with a capacity of around 70 million tonnes.
UltraTech Cement is India’s top cement maker with a capacity of 120 million tonnes. Speaking at an event last Saturday to mark the completion of the acquisition, Adani said the conglomerate has become the second largest cement manufacturer in India in a single stroke. He said this buyout is India’s largest ever inbound M&A transaction in the infrastructure and materials space and was closed in a record time of four months.
“Our entry into this business is happening at a time India is on the cusp of one of the greatest economic surges seen in the modern world,” he said in the speech, which was released on Monday