Our Kolkata: Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) is working on a plan to execute an "Extended Gate Project" at Balagarh in Bengal's Hooghly district, to facilitate faster and smoother movement of cargo bound for the north.
"Since KoPT has 300 acres of land at its disposal at the location, it can also serve as an industrial zone and we plan to invite industries to set up their operations here," KoPT chairman Vinit Kumar said, on the sidelines of a session titled 'West Bengal - Poised to Lead', organised by CII West Bengal, as part of its Annual Day programme.
It is being designed as an extended terminal-cum-industrial zone and the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the project will be ready in three months.
"The facility will be a win-win situation for both industries and the port. The proposed extended terminal gateway can serve as a storing hub for cargo from Haldia and Kolkata docks for their onward journey via waterways, or by road. This will also reduce the turnaround time due to vehicular movement restrictions in the city and also decongest the city," the KoPT chairman said.
"National Waterways I is coming up, which will connect Haldia with Benaras and Allahabad. We want to build the cargo terminal at Balagarh, which is located about 40-45 km from Kolkata, to facilitate faster and smoother movement of containers and also reduce congestion for north-bound cargo from Haldia and Kolkata docks using the NW-1," he said.
It may be mentioned that 'Extended Gates' is a concept that helps reduce congestion and environmental impact from heavy vehicles adjacent to ports and terminals.
Kumar also said that a RoRo service is expected to commence in a fortnight. "The service will ferry about 150-180 Howrah-bound trucks from Kidderpore docks. This is aimed at decongesting the city and overcoming vehicular movement restrictions during daytime," he said, adding that one-third of the traffic can utilise the RoRo facility on a daily basis.
The KoPT is building up two terminals with an investment of Rs 800 crore. "The construction for the liquid cargo terminal with a capacity of 5 million tonnes at Salukhali has already commenced and another one of 3 million tonnes capacity for bulk cargo will also come up," Kumar added.
It may be mentioned that Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is building up six terminals, one of which will come up at Haldia.
Sanjay Budhia, Managing Director, Patton Group, profusely praised the Bengal government for building an enabling environment for businesses.
"Significant efforts have been made to improve the policy and regulatory environment, streamline procedures and kickstart investments," Budhia said.