Baalu asks W Bengal govt to step up Jellingham acquisition

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New Delhi, Jun 23 (UNI) Union Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Minister T R Baalu today asked the West Bengal Government to step up work on acquisition of land at Jellingham for the purpose of dumping dredged material at the shore itself.

He was reviewing the working of the Kolkata Port Trust, which handled 3,344 vessels in 2007-08 -- the highest among the major Port trusts, and is taking up a number of projects under the National Maritime Development Programme (NMDP) to augment its capacity.

Mr Baalu said he would be writing to the State Chief Minister regarding dumping of dredging material and would also be taking up the matter of the state government granting permission for allowing Social Impact Assessment of the acquisition required for Diamond Harbour container terminal project.

The Minister directed the Port authorities to take expeditious steps for revalidation of the proposed River Regulatory Measures Scheme by Central Water Power Research Station, in addition to the short term measures to improve the draught at the Kolkata Port.

Kolkata Port, in order to maintain the channel depth, is intensifying its maintenance dredging works. In case it is allowed to dump the dredged material at the shore itself, the productivity of the dredgers would go up substantially as they would not have to go to distant sites for dumping the dredged material.

Recently, it commissioned two new berths No 2 and 13 at a cost of Rs 87 crore. However, it is constrained by problems relating to draught availability in view of the siltation of the channel on the Hooghly river.

The feasibility report of the Diamond Harbour project is completed. The construction of container handling jetties at Diamond Harbour is being planned in terms of the recommendations of the high-powered committee set up by the ministry. This would enable vessels to avail of higher draught in the navigable channel and also result in reduction in freight costs and turn-around time of vessels.

UNI SD

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