Govt, DPCL explore legal steps against KoPT limit extn

Bhubaneswar: Terming extension of limits of Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) up to Bhadrak as "illegal", the state government and Dhamara Port Company Ltd (DPCL) on Thursday said they were weighing legal options to challenge the decision.

"We may go to court challenging extension of limits of KoPT as it is against Orissa`s interest," Chief Secretary B K Patnaik told reporters after reviewing the situation arising out of shipping ministry approving extension of KoPT limits.

Stating that such extension of limits was done without consulting Orissa government, he said it would adversely affect about half-a-dozen of proposed ports in northern Orissa.

Dhamara port was almost ready for operation and the extension of limit of KoPT would directly affect the prospect of the all weather port in Bhadrak district, he said.

While Orissa government said it was waiting the decision of the shipping ministry`s meeting scheduled to be held on February 14 in New Delhi, Patnaik said chief minister had taken up the matter with union minister G K Vasan.

Chief executive officer (CEO) of DPCL Santosh K Mohapatra said his company was exploring legal options and considering approaching court against extension of the limits.

"We are waiting for the ministry`s decision," he said.

Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertiliser Srikant Jena had also opposed the extension of the limits of the KoPT.

"Entire deep sea alongside north Orissa would now fall under the limits of KoPT which would seriously jeopardize the state`s maritime activities," Jena said in a letter to Vasan.

The revised limits of KoPT extends 200 km south of Haldia into Bay of Bengal covering an area of 28646 sq km, sources said.

The extended limits of KoPT clearly encroaches into the already notified limits of Bichitrapur, Subarnarekha Mouth, Bahabalpur, Inchudi, Chandipur, Chudamani and to some extent Dhamra Port, Jena sid.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also demanded roll back of the decision of extending the limits of KoPT.