Draft scenario at Haldia adversly affects trade and industry

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Kolkata, Sep 15 (UNI) Association of Shipping Intrests in Kolkata (ASIC), a nodal agency of ship owners and shipping agents, today asserted that draft scenario at Haldia was adversly affecting trade and industry in the region.

Addressing a press conference here, ASIC president H P Nopany said the depth at Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) was 6 and 6.2 mt at zero tide level at Jellingham and Auckland bars respectively which were reduced to 4.6 and 4.8 mt in 1997.

A dredging contract was signed with Ham Dredging, a renowned Dutch dredging firm, to increase the depths by 1 and 1.5 mt, the firm completed their job in 1999 when the depth was 5.7 and 6 mt at Jellingham and Auckland bars respectively, he said.

'' But following no maintenance dredging for some subsequent period the depth again reduced to 5 and 5.5 mt respectively at the two bars adversly affecting trade and commerce at HDC, '' he informed.

Even the Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) could not maintain the desired depths, which continued to reduce, resulting in loss of revenue for HDC, Mr Nopany claimed alleging the port authorities failed to do anything substantial to reudce the dredge which ultimately resulted in loss of shipment.

The freight corridor was not maintained as per the requirement which ultimately resulted in poor infrasturcture, he said.

He further said flood and ebb current caused shoaling problem and Nayachar tail extended to lower Auckland channel which caused damage to the channels.

The ministry of Shipping has been approached, we had also raised the issue at different forums including CII and FICCI but nothing substantial has been done so far to check dredging at HDC, he said.

'' Our request to the ministry is to seriously consider the issue and direct DCI to restore the minimum river draft of 8 and 8.5 metres at both the bars respectively to save HDC from dredging, he added.

UNI RH SJC RN1937

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