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HC orders status quo on Kolkata port expansion bid

Cuttack: Orissa High Court has ordered Kolkata Port Trust to maintain status quo on its expansion mode till the disposal of the case or until further orders.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice B N Mohapatra yesterday said that the PIL filed by Keonjhar Nava Nirman Samiti was maintainable and ordered the KoPT to maintain status quo on its expansion bid until the petition was heard and disposed off.

The case would be heard again on October 17 .

The High Court on May 5 had restrained KoPT from going ahead with its proposal to extend the port limits and had asked both the Central government and the KoPT authorities not to precipitate the matter till consideration of the interim prayer.

Pending responses from Central government, the HC had reiterated its interim order thrice earlier. In the meantime, the petitioner as well as Orissa government alleged that KoPT has shown blatant disregard to Orissa High Court order by setting up a transloading terminal at Kanika islands within the coastal territory of Orissa.

They also demanded initiation of contempt proceedings against KoPT for overreaching the High Court order.

The KoPT said in its affidavit that it had not violated the interim orders of Orissa High Court and denied the allegations made against it by the petitioner and Orissa government.

The Kolkata Port Trust has not started operations within the extended limits. In order to start operations, no trans-loader has been obtained or even negotiated for yet.

Therefore, there can be no trans-loading operations,? an affidavit filed by KoPT board of trustees chairman said.

Meanwhile, the Shipping Ministry in its affidavit maintained that the Central government was fully empowered to alter the limits of any port for the best interest of public.

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