Port tiff nears solution
|R.P.S. Kahlon (right) with Inland Waterways Authority of India chairman Vishwapati Trivedi in Calcutta on Friday. Picture by Kishor Roy Chowdhury|
Calcutta, June 7: The Calcutta Port Trust (CPT) is looking forward to the resolution of a two-year old stalemate on a proposed transloading facility at Kanika Sands, a cluster of islands off the Odisha coast, at a meeting in New Delhi next week.
CPT chairman R.P.S. Kahlon said the June 14 meeting will be would be attended by the port authorities of Dhamra, Paradip and Subarnarekha ports in Odisha, representatives of the respective state governments and shipping ministry officials.
“I am hoping that the issue could be resolved. The Supreme Court has requested the ministry of shipping to sit with all the stakeholders to work out a mutually acceptable solution. A proposal has been given to Odisha (government). They have indicated their willingness to accept certain formula (which) is acceptable to us,” he said on the sidelines of an event at the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Kahlon said the CPT would have to file an affidavit before the Supreme Court in July based on the settlement reached at the meeting.
An acceptable solution might be the shifting of operations to an alternative location close to Kanika Sands, but the chairman did not give any specific details.
The CPT had planned to pick a private operator through competitive bidding for setting up the Rs 300-crore transloading facility. The floating terminal will be stationed at Sandheads, 60 miles south of Haldia, for eight months in a year. During monsoons, it will be taken to Kanika Sands, next to the Dhamra port and 60 miles south of Sandheads.
The Odisha government had moved the apex court following the shipping ministry’s decision to extend the limits of the CPT, covering parts of the Bay of Bengal close to the Odisha border. It had pointed out that transloading at Kanika Sands would impact the cargo flow to the Odisha ports.
The CPT was affected by the tussle as it failed to start transloading, which would have revived its fortunes at a time draught continued to prevent the entry of larger vessels at its facilities.