Aditya Birla Group for Chudamani Captive Port

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Bhubaneswar, May 29: The Aditya Birla Group has requested Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to approve their proposal pending with the government since 2005 for development of Chudamani as a captive port.

The Aditya Birla group had submitted a proposal for the development of Chudamani as a captive port in September 2005 for movement of their group's cargo like cement, aluminium, iron ore, thermal coal, limestones, gypsum, clinker and copper which would be loaded from ports in other states. The company proposed to invest Rs 1500 crore in phases and assured to complete the first phase within 18 months from the date of concession agreement.

But the proposal was pending in view of the interpretation of the clause 3.5 of concession agreement by the law department which said that the Dhamara port's commercial interest would be hampered if Chudamani was allowed to be developed.

The clause said, "the government can grant a facility for another port, to a private party or develop by itself, within 25 km on ether side of the outer limits of the port on the same terms and conditions contained in this agreement, only when the Dhamra Port is fully utilised and no further expansion of this port is possible." The Birla Group argued that Chudamani is a captive port having different terms and conditions and the distance restriction in clause 3.5 of the concession agreement should not be applicable to it.

A technical study conducted by the IITM Chennai on the direction of the Chief Minister, said the Chudamani proposal was beneficial to the state and commercial interest of the Dhamra would not be affected.

The Birla group said since the purpose of the captive port was not to generate revenue as a general multi user commercial port it should not be treated on the same terms and conditions for the purpose of clause 3.5 of concession agreement.

The company said Chudamani project was in conformity with the state's port policy and guidelines and requested the Chief Minister to approve their proposal in the overall interest of infrastructure and socio-economic development of the state.

UNI

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