KoPT taking steps to bring down annual dredging cost
Stating that dredging subsidy is essential for the survival of the Kolkata and Haldia Port, chairman of the Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) MT Krishna Babu said: “The operating surplus of KoPT is 28.58 per cent in this fiscal year and seven major projects of Rs 1,256 crore has been targeted for 2016-17 financial year.”
He was speaking at a press conference organised by the port on Wednesday.
Babu said the dredging subsidy is going down every year and it will leave an impact on the financial aspects of the major ports.
The dredging cost of KoPt in 2015-16 fiscal was Rs 453 crore and desperate attempt has been taken to cut down the dredging cost.
The dredging subsidy to the riverine port had gone down by Rs 75 crore in the last fiscal compared to that of in 2014-15.
Eden Channel has become fully functional for navigation from Haldia and it had helped to cut down the dredging cost. A team of experts from IIT-Chennai are working on the dredging of the channel. There will be a reduction of Rs 50 to Rs 80 crores in dredging cost this year with change of navigation from Auckland to Eden Channel.
He maintained that the operating surplus increased to Rs 603.65 crore in 2015-16 and it resulted to a rise of 28.58 per cent compared to that of in 2014-15. Rs 333 crore was transferred to the pension fund and it resulted to a loss of Rs 148 crore.
He also announced that the operation between India-Bangladesh to commence this month with a vessel from Chitagong to reach Kolkata Port on April 29. There will be no import but the vessel will return with 40 to 50 cargos.
KoPT has also taken up seven major projects in 2016-17 fiscal at a cost of Rs 1,256. Of which, the internal investment of the port will be Rs 370 crores and remaining investment will be made in Public-Private-Partnership model.
The projects include development of mooring facilities at Sandheads for transshipment, laying of second railway line between Durgachak and HDC Railway System, setting up of two outer riverine terminals and setting up of small scale LNG storage and distribution terminal.
He further said that the process to post a permanent chairman of KoPT has started. It may be mentioned that RPS Kahlon was replaced with Babu, who is also the chairman of Visakhapatnam Port Trust, after the former was arrested in connection on alleged charges of taking a bribe.
The tender will be floated for the plot at Hyde Road soon after the election.