Odisha govt rejects Jindal Steel’s proposal to acquire Gopalpur port

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Friday said it had rejected a proposal by Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) to acquire 49 per cent stake in Gopalpur Ports Ltd (GPL) in the state. 
"Jindal has expressed interest to acquire 49 per cent stake in the Gopalpur Port Limited. The state government has rejected the proposal based on the views of the Law Department," state's Commerce minister Subrat Tarai told reporters here. 
Tarai said the Law Department in its report had stated that according to the agreement, the Gopalpur port could not be transferred before its operation for at least three years. Therefore, the state government rejected the proposal. 
Sources said that JSPL was keen on acquiring 60 per cent stake in GPL. The state government, however, had objected to the proposal as it violated the terms of the concession agreement signed with the original promoters. 
The agreement with the original promoters stated they have to retain at least 51 per cent stake for at least three years from the date of commencement of the port's operations. The port started commercial operations in July this year with transport of 7,500 tonne of ilmenite by a small vessel to South Korea, the sources said. 
The Port was developed jointly by Odisha Stevedores Ltd and Delhi-based Sara International Ltd, after Hong Kong-based Noble Group exited the consortium in May, 2010.