Bengal-Odisha port limit truce meeting on June 14

Kolkata: The two-year-old war between West Bengal and Odisha over port limits is set to see a truce in a proposed high-level meeting on June 14.
 
"There is a meeting scheduled to take place on June 14 between port authorities and Shipping Ministry officials in Delhi. We expect that a settlement will be reached in the meeting with acceptable terms to all of us," Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) Chairman R P S Kahlon said here on Thursday.
 
The meeting would discuss the modifications sought by the Odisha government in the formula that was recommended by the Union Shipping Ministry for an amicable settlment.
 
The Odisha government had indicated that it was willing to accept the ministry's formula with some modifications, Kahlon said on the sidelines of a seminar organised by Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry on 'importance of waterways'.
 
In November 2010, the Shipping Ministry had notified extension of the limit of KoPT covering certain stretches in the Bay of Bengal bordering Odisha, but it was opposed in the court by the neighbour.
 
The Supreme Court has insisted on an amicable solution.
 
KoPT is affected by the tussle and failed to begin transloading operations to revive its fortunes when draught remained a perennial factor that prevented large vessels from entering the port.
 
Apart from KoPT, Dhamra port and Paradip port are other ports of eastern India likely to attend the meeting.
 
Meanwhile, transloading will be boosted with a Rs 50 crore upgradation work for the Farraka barrage by the Inland Waterways Authority.
 
The upgradation will help smooth barge movement from Haldia to Farraka and then to Barh in Bihar.
 
A contract for three million tonnes of coal for NTPC to Farraka from Haldia has been awarded and operations may be commissioned in the next two months, Inland Waterways Authority of India chairperson V Trivedi said.
 
On foodgrain movement to the North East by river through Bangladesh, he said it was facing challenges leading to the delay.
 
The contract for 10,000 tonnes of coal was delayed by four months awaiting permission from the Bangladesh authorities, but Trivedi declined to comment on whether it was due to political reasons.