Millennium Post

State decides to widen port-based industrialisation

Eyeing the third edition of the Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS) in 2017, the Bengal government will be ready to proclaim mega investment proposals, a sizable portion of which will come from private players. The development of robust infrastructure, exploring various opportunities in consultation with global analytical firms and development of inland waterways to optimally leverage its maritime advantages are already underway by the state commerce and industry department and West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation Limited (WBIDC) in deep sea port at Tajpur, major deep sea port at Sagar island and new port with ship building facility at Kulpi. 

However, the state government has already announced a thumping Rs 16,000 crore of investment and 10,000 direct job creations at Tajpur port and port led industry circuit. The department has initiated Adani Ports and Special Economic Zones Limited and Essar Ports to invest in the upcoming ports. There are certain reasons for the government to woo port led industrialisation. State commerce and industry as well as finance minister Amit Mitra has explained it. 

“West Bengal is fourth largest economy with Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) of Rs 9.5 lakh crore in 2015-16, generates high opportunity for industries. The gross value added (GVA) for 2015-16 is 12.02 per cent. These features are enough to explain the opportunity for port based industries here,” said Mitra. West Bengal’s population, which is one fourth of India, is another fact the industry officials are showcasing to the biz-houses. 

Three airports at Kolkata, Andal and Bagdogra, two major ports at Kolkata and Haldia and three other upcoming deep sea ports at Tajpur, Sagar Island and Kulpi with the third largest road network in India are the main features to display for industrial captains. “We are going to showcase this state as the gateway of South-east and North-east Asia. We are sharing international borders with Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan and are well connected with shining Asian economy – Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. The mineral-rich states such as Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha are almost alongside the border,” said an officer at WBIDC.

At present, the state industry and commerce department officers along with some private research agencies are busy making the road maps featuring the robust physical infrastructure. “The connectivity of three airports, two old ports, and three upcoming ports, road connectivity, theme cities and freight corridors are main points for the agenda which we are showcasing to the biz fraternities,” the officer added. The minister, however, added, eastern dedicated freight corridor from Ludhuia to Dankuni via Mogansarai, Allahabad and east coast economic corridor from Chennai to Kolkata via Visakhapatanam and upcoming Amritsar-Kolkata industrial corridor covering 2,000 km will open the opportunity more for the port based industrialisation.

Apart from two major ports in Kolkata and Haldia, state’s new initiatives of port based industry development will majorly stand on three new ports. The deep sea port at Bhor Sagar, which is a joint venture between centre and state government will cost around Rs 16000 crore. The port is under process by the equity participation by Kolkata Port Trust and state government. The work of rail connectivity in Sagar Island, bridge between Lot-8 and the Kachuberia and the infrastructure are under process. 

The project is also looking for rail-road connectivity from dedicated freight corridor to Krishnanagar. The project is also looking for a concessionaire through public private partnership (PPP). The requirement of land is 347 acre which is already in possession. The deep sea port at Tajpur is going to be constructed with revenue share model, as the state government is not looking for a joint venture with the centre here. The state will build the main infrastructure and invite the private player for rest of the infrastructure. Revenue share model will be followed for the business. The proposed Greenfield port will have the investment around Rs 16000 Crore, with Rs 10000 crore in the first phase and over 10,000 employments will be created.

“The port will be built by a single concessionaire with facilities to handle multi commodities such as dry bulk, containers and LNG or LPG. The first phase will have 6 berths with the capacity of 44 million tonnes. The second phase will have another 3 berths for which the capacity will increase up to 58 million tonnes,” said the officer.
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