|Paradip Port, the largest major port in the country after Kandla in terms of cargo volume, fears its operation may be affected by the proposed captive port of JSW group in its vicinity.|
"Any port in our vicinity will affect our operation," said a top official of Paradip Port Trust (PPT).
JSW group plans to build a captive port facility at Paradip to cater to the needs of its proposed 10-million-tonne steel plant in the area.
"We have not been asked for our view by the government. We will certainly oppose the setting up of the port in our neighbourhood if asked to give our views," said the PPT official.
To emphasise the impact of JSW's proposed port on Paradip port, he said, the cargo handling at Visakhapatnam port has been severely affected following the establishment of Gangavaram port close by.
Though unlike Gangavaram, JSW's proposed port will be only meant for captive use, he said, still it would knock off 20 million tonne from Paradip port's cargo projection. Paradip port handled 90 million tonne cargo in the last fiscal and aims to achieve 100 million tonne in the current financial year.
"We have already made a presentation to JSW urging them to use our port facility for their project. But we hear, they are going ahead with a proposal to have their own port," the official said.
Interestingly, JSW is currently engaged in building an iron ore handling berth of 10 million tonne capacity at a cost of Rs 740 crore at Paradip port in PPP mode.
JSW has submitted a proposal to Industrial Promotion and Investment Corporation of Odisha (Ipicol) expressing intention to locate the port at Jatadhari Muhan, about 8 Kms from Paradip port.
It is at the same place Posco had earlier proposed to set up a captive port which was also then opposed vehemently by the Paradip Port authorities.
JSW intends to set up its steel plant on the land vacated by Posco after the latter scrapped its plan for a 12 million tonne plant there on issues of delay in land acquisition and iron ore linkage.
The proposed port is estimated to cost Rs. 2,000 crore. It will initially have cargo handling capacity of 10 million tonne which will be increased to 20 million tonne later.
Though JSW's plans for Rs 50,000 crore steel mill and Rs. 3,700 crore slurry pipeline to carry iron ore from mines to the plant site have been cleared by the High Level Clearance Authority (HLCA), the port project is yet to taken up for consideration by the authority, chaired by chief minister Naveen Patnaik.
Initially, JSW group had planned to establish a commercial port at Jatadhari Muhan. But, it later altered the plan in favour of a captive port as the state's port policy stipulated that all commercial ports have to be developed through the competitive bidding route.