Govt requests KoPT to put on hold new port

Bhubaneswar: The state government on Friday claimed that the Ministry of Shipping has asked Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) to put on hold tendering process for its Rs 290 crore multi-purpose jetty project, which is likely to affect seven proposed ports in the state`s coastline.

"(The)Centre has directed KoPT to put on hold its tendering process for the proposed Rs 290 crore multi-purpose jetty project till dispute is over," Commerce and Transport Minister Sanjeev Sahoo told reporters.

This comes a day after the state government officials led by chief secretary B K Patnaik held a discussion with the ministry.

The union shipping secretary K Mohandas also assured the state government that prospect of Orissa`s seven upcoming ports would not be jeopardised due to extension of KoPT`s jurisdiction, he said.

The ministry convened a meeting on the issue after Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik on February 3 met union shipping minister G K Vasan and demanded immediate rollback of the notification regarding extension of the KoPT`s jurisdiction.

Terming the notification as "unilateral" and "arbitrary", Patnaik pointed out that extension of KoPT`s jurisdiction would affect seven proposed ports at Dhamra, Chudamani, Chandipur, Inchudi, Subarnarekha mouth, Bichitrapur and Bahabalpur in North Orissa.

The Orissa side represented by chief secretary B K Patnaik and commerce and transport secretary Gagan Dhal, is strongly opposed to the extension of the KoPT`s jurisdiction stretching its operational area to 28,646 sq km in the Bay of Bengal, including over 200 km south of Haldia.

The meeting, however, remained inconclusive, the minister said, adding that next sitting was scheduled to be held in April.