Centre puts conditions on Sagar Port funding: official

Kolkata, Aug 23 (IANS) The Union government has sought West Bengal’s view whether development of Tajpur port proposed by the state can be done in a centre-state joint venture mode as in Sagar port, which, has otherwise, no economic viability, said a top Kolkata Port official on Tuesday.

“Given the geographical disadvantages, the proposed Sagar Port, in standalone, would not be viable if the Tajpur port (Tajpur-Shankarpur port in East Midnapore district in West Bengal) comes out,” said Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) Chairman M.T. Krishna Babu.

A special purpose vehicle (SPV) was created with 74 percent stake given to Kolkata Port and 26 percent to West Bengal government for the development of Sagar Port.

“The centre wants to know whether the state government is interested to develop any other ports in the West Bengal (including Tajpur) that the state is planning for as a part of SPV created for Sagar Port. So that complimentary facilities can be given,” he said.

The Union government also asked the state to facilitate the land acquisition for expansion and widening of national highway from Sagar to Kakdwip to Joka and to make land available for railway connectivity, he added.

“Public Investment Board has clearly said unless, these three (joint venture for Tajpur, land acquisition for road and land for railways) are agreed by the state, it is difficult to fund the Sagar Project,” Krishna Babu said at an interactive session organised by MCC Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Around Rs 10,000 crore was expected to be invested in the Sagar port project and in addition, Rs 515 crore was supposed to provide by the central government as a grant.

He said Tajpur is more viable because of direct access to sea with 15 metre draft and dredging maintenance would also be less. At Sagar, the draft is nine metres which can go upto 12 metres with high dredging maintenance.

However, he indicated that if the Port Trust is involved with Tajpur port project, then the central government can rework the Sagar port with lower capacity for cargo required to come to Kolkata.



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