Public Hearing for Dhamra Port Expansion held

Bhubaneswar: Public hearing on environment impact assessment for Second Phase expansion of Dhamra Port was held by Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) in Dosinga village near the port in Bhadrak district.

Barring attempts to disrupt the proceedings by some villagers who were critical of the port authorities, the public hearing, attended by more than 1,000 people, continued for more than four hours yesterday, port sources said. Issues relating to surrounding environment of the port, marine life and livelihood improvement of local fishing communities were discussed during the public hearing, conducted by Regional Officer of SPCB AK Chatterjee. Bhadrak district Collector A K Pani presided.

Dhamra Port completed its first year of commercial operation on May 6, 2012 and it was formally inaugurated by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on December 18, 2011. In the first phase the port has built two fully mechanised berths with a capacity of nearly 20 million tonnes per annum. In the expansion phase, the port has a Master Plan to build 11 more berths which will increase port capacity to nearly 100 million tonnes per annum.

The Phase-II expansion, to be spread over an area of 499 hectares within the existing port limits, would facilitate enhancement of berths of dry-bulk, liquid bulk, containerised bulk and break bulk cargo, sources said. The proposed expansion would also facilitate doubling of rail link and construction of a four-lane road along the 57-km rail corridor from Bhadrak to Dhamra port, they said.

Direct employment opportunities for 3,000 people and indirect jobs for 48,300 people are likely to be created when the planned expansion is effected, they said. In the public hearing, two local MLAs – Bijoyshree Routray and Bijay Nayak – were present along with senior officials of the district administration, police and SPCB.

Chief Executive Officer of DPCL Santosh Kumar Mohapatra replied to various queries relating to environment protection measures and periphery development by the company. It was informed by DPCL authorities that in the second phase expansion around Rs 50 cr will be earmarked for CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) expenditure.