HC quashes notification on KoPT expansion

Cuttack: Odisha High Court on Friday quashed the notification issued by Union Shipping Ministry for altering Kolkata port limits. The High Court also set aside a similar notification of Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) which had taken steps to expand the port limits by 200 km south off Haldia dock.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice B N Mohapatra, who had earlier ordered a status quo on the expansion bid of KoPT after admitting a PIL filed by Keonjhar Navanirman Parishad, said that the notifications violated article 14 of the Constitution.

While the PIL had sought to quash the impugned notifications of the ministry and the KoPT, Odisha government had preferred to be an intervener in the case and had brought to the notice of the High Court that the proposed expansion of KoPT would overlap the port limits of seven major ports earlier sought to be set up in the state.

The ministry had issued the notifications on October 22 last year for altering the Kolkata port limits and subsequently on November 10, 2010, the KoPT by the strength of the Center`s notification decided to expand its limit by more than 7000 square km of sea area bringing into its ambit the proposed minor ports of Odisha.

Alleging that the proposed expansion of KoPT would incapacitate developmental plans of Odisha government in boosting its maritime activities, the PIL had sought the High Court intervention saying the Center had not consulted the Odisha government before issuing the notification.