Centre to set up one million TEU port at Diamond Harbour

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Kolkata, Dec 10 (UNI) The Centre will set up a one-million TEU capacity container port at Diamond Harbour and mulls to develop a shipyard at the Sagar islands in West Bengal with a total investment of Rs 2,750 crore, Shipping and Roadways Minister T R Baalu said here today.

The proposed container hub, comprising three jetties, would be set up in two phases to be completed by 2011-12.

''We are going to develop a container hub with an initial capacity of handling one million TEUs investing Rs 500 crore. In the second phase another Rs 250 crore will be pumped in,'' he told reporters.

Mr Baalu, who discussed several projects with Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee last night, said the proposed port would be nearer to the sandhead with a distance of 140 km as against 232 km between the sandhead and the Kolkata and Halida ports.

The ministry had plans to increase the port capacity subsequently to 6.4 million TEUs, he added.

''This will increase the inland waterways delivery system to meet the needs of the hinterland comprising the North-Eastern states, Bangladesh and the Eastern states,'' he said.

In reply to a question, Mr Baalu said once the port was set up, 75 per cent of the cargo traffic would go through waterways, 20 per cent by the railway and the rest by road.

Talking on the shipyard the Centre was keen to develop in the Sagar island, Mr Baalu said the project, proposed to be implemented through private-public partnership (PPP), would need an estimated investment of Rs 2,000 crore and require 1,200 to 1,500 acres of land.

However, no detailed project report for the purpose had so far been prepared, he said.

''We need to increase the infrastructure to handle cargo traffic, which is growing by a rate of 10.46 per cent every year,'' the minister said.

He informed that the current cargo handling capacity of the country's ports was 600 million tons which was projected to be increased to 1,500 tons during the eleventh plan.

Last night Mr Baalu had also discussed with the Chief Minister the problems over developing a deep sea port near the sandhead in West Bengal for which seven consulting outfits had submitted expression of interest (EOI).

However, none of the organisations have so far submitted any request for proposal (RPF), the stipulated procedure in the next stage.

All the seven organisations had been called to a meeting here on December seven to find out the reason why they failed to respond, Mr Baalu said pointing out that officials of the Shipping Ministry and the state government would be present at the meeting.

UNI

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