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KoPT to set up midstream container handling facility

Kolkata, June 28 (IANS) The Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) will set up a midstream container handling facility to improve cargo traffic in the port, its chairman M.L. Meena said here Monday.

Larger container cargo vessels cannot enter the Kolkata Dock System and Haldia Dock Complex because of low draught in the Hooghly river channel. So there is a need for setting up a midstream container handling facility for the riverine port, said Meena.

‘A committee has been formed to submit a survey report for setting up such facility in the riverstream. The committee will study the technical feasibility of setting up container handling facility in the midstream and also the economic sustainability of the port and its stake holders,’ said Meena.

Speaking at an interactive session organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), Meena said: ‘We will concentrate on effective and quality dredging. As all the dredgers available with us are not of good quality, we have to go for effective dredging by using the best ones at the exact place in proper time.’

This was Meena’s first official programme after assuming the post.

KOPT will also set up two-three jetties outside the lock gates.

‘The business of the port has been hampered because of low draught in the river channel, so we are looking up for setting up jetties along the river wherever better draught is available. Already the KoP officials have identified Shalukhali and Diamond Harbour for setting up such facilities,’ he said.

KoPT will construct a guard wall in the area along the river channel to arrest the flow of dredged materials into the channel.

KoPT officials have identified the land pockets for dumping the dredged materials at Rasulpur and near Sagar Island, said Meena.

Apart from dredging, the KoPT has decided to open the Eden channel by February next year, which may help survival of the port.

‘The entire process of re-tendering for opening up the Eden channel will be completed within two-three months and the best agency would be engaged for the job,’ said Meena.

He also added that initiative to implement river regulatory measures will be taken soon. ‘The cost of river regulatory measure is estimated at Rs.1,000 crore and the union ministry will be requested to allot the fund. But we are not sure whether the centre will allot the entire fund or not,’ Meena said.

The new chairman also said KoPT is looking at setting up port facilities in the Hooghly river on public-private-partnership basis.

The chairman also said KoPT would also approach the Inland Waterways Authority of India for creating barge facilities at Farraka in Murshidabad district and Katwa in Burdwan district so that companies like National Thermal Power Corporation can ferry coal to their production units through waterways rather than railways.

‘Besides KoPt has discussed with Shipping Corporation of India and Steel Authority of India for sharing risk for creating transloading facilities for the benefit of its stakeholders,’ he said.

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