With the formation of a policy to develop a deep sea port at Tajpur, the state government has formed a Group of Secretaries (GoS) to recommend the suitable investment model that to be taken up to develop the first state-owned deep sea port in West Bengal.
The policy was formed in the meeting of Cabinet Standing Committee on Industry headed by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Nabanna on Wednesday.
Amit Mitra, the state finance minister had earlier said when the last Assembly session was on, that the the Left Front government’s proposal of setting up a minor port at Rosulpur in East Midnapore was scrapped and the present government has taken up a cost friendly project to bring up a major deep sea port at Shankarpur-Tajpur without any acquisition of land. The state government had engaged a firm, CRISIL, to carry out a survey and to prepare a feasibility report after scrapping the plan of the previous government as “there was lack of transparency”.
In a press conference in Nabanna on Wednesday, Mitra said that that the firm has submitted the report and they have also recommended a set of investment models besides assessing the profit to be generated once the port becomes fully functional.
The GoS will be headed by the Chief Secretary with principal secretaries of the departments who are related to the project like transport and finance, as other members.
The GoS has been formed to talk to experts in construction of ports and submit a report after studying the transaction advisory report of CRISIL suggesting the model that the state should take up within the next 10 to 15 days. The report of GoS will be the report of the state government complementing the report of CRISIL that had prepared the detailed project report. He said there are two basic models.
The state has to make an initial investment to attract investors if equity model is taken up or there is open tendering model that would need private investment from the very beginning or else there is also provision for “hybrid model”. But whatever the model would be, bidding through e-tendering will be done. Within a month after the GoS submits its report to the Chief Minister, the Request for Proposal for bidding will be issued and it would take around three to three and half years to complete the Phase-I of the project that will come up at a cost of Rs 5,000 crore.
In Phase-I, six of the total 15 berths will be constructed and rest of the nine berths will come up in Phase-II.
All the terminals will be multipurpose ones. There will be facilities to handle petroleum, dry bulk cargo and container cargoes in all the terminals. Moreover, there would be dredging work of only 18.8 km channels.
The silt that would be dredged out will be used again to form a reclaim land of a dimension of 2 km in length and 2.5 km in breadth on which the major portion of the port will come up. Thus there is no need of any land acquisition.
Vessels with a parcel size of 60,000 tonnes will able to avail the port with 15 metre draft which is several times more than that of the Haldia Port. Mitra said as per the projection of CRISIL, there will be 15.9 per cent post tax internal rate of return (IRR) and 20.2 per cent would be the post tax equity internal rate of return. Moreover, the next present value project cost would be Rs 2,199 crore over the next 30 years which suggests that it is going to be a highly profitable port.
The port which is not falling under the jurisdiction of the Kolkata Port Trust is situated just at a distance of 8 km from the state highway. The nearest railway point is just 12 km away. Thus, there no much expenditure needed for infrastructure like construction of bridges as it is required for the Sagar port.
At the same time two ports will come up in Kulpi including one with a ship breaking and building unit.