Adani Group tests Kulpi port waters

Pranav promises to 'revolutionise' segment and 'replicate' Mundra in Bengal

By Sambit Saha in Calcutta
  • Published 18.01.18
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Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra and chief secretary Malay Kumar De at the summit. (Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya)

Calcutta: The Adani Group has held exploratory talks with the Bengal government on reviving the Kulpi port project.

Pranav Adani, a director of Adani Enterprises, met chief secretary Malay Kumar De on the sidelines of the Bengal Global Business Summit on Wednesday to discuss the possibility of developing the long-pending container port, sources said.

If the port project gets off the ground, analysts feel it has the potential to attract investments of around Rs 2,500 crore. The proposed port in South 24-Parganas may also fulfil Bengal's quest for developing an industrial zone around new maritime infrastructure modelled on Haldia and Calcutta.

A senior official confirmed that the talks revolved around the Kulpi port but declined to divulge details.

Adani said in the evening: "We are major players in power and port and if there is any opportunity that Bengal government wants us look at, we will happily do so."

Adani promised to invest Rs 750 crore to double the capacity of the group's edible oil refinery plant in Haldia over the next five years.

Addressing the Bengal Global Business Summit, Adani said the group would like to "replicate the Mundra port" in Bengal. Located in Gujarat, Mundra is India's largest port and can handle several types of cargo such as container, crude oil and dry bulk.

"We at the Adani Group operate the largest network of ports in the nation. Given Bengal's position as the gateway to Southeast Asia and the Northeast in India, we look forward to bringing our expertise to Bengal. We believe we can revolutionise the entire port scenario in the state and make it a massive driver of economic growth. We have done it in several states across India and I'm seeking your support to do the same here. If given an opportunity, we would like to replicate our Mundra port," Adani said in his official speech.

The Dubai-based DP World is the majority stakeholder in the port project with the Calcutta-based Keventer Group. The Bengal government also holds a minority stake in an associated project where an industrial park is expected to come up.

Mayank Jalan, the chairman of Keventer, confirmed that he held several rounds of discussions with the Adani Group over the past three months. "We are keen to revive the plan. Land is available. The project has several key clearances ready with it, ensuring it can get off the ground soon if partners are ready," Jalan said.

The government has also requested Adani to look into developing the Tajpur port in East Midnapore, sources said.