The Mamata Banerjee government is not looking for a joint venture with the Centre to set up the Tajpur Port and is ready to build the infrastructure from its own pocket.
The proposed Greenfield port will have the investment of around Rs 16,000 crore and over 10,000 employments will be created. The state commerce and industry minister Amit Mitra has made it clear that there may be proposals for the joint venture for the proposed port at East Midnapore, but the state is not really waiting for it, adding that nobody has yet expressed interest in partnering with the state government in the project.
The minister’s statement has come at the juncture when Kolkata Port Trust had recently expressed interest venturing with state government in Tajpur port project.
As the Bhor Sagar Port, which will be built with the joint venture of state and centre, is situated in the close proximity to the proposed port in the Tajpur, which is a growing concern for the financial viability of both the ports. But answering the question at a conclave called ‘West Bengal – a new frontier for the maritime development’ organised jointly by state government and Federation of Indian Chamber of commerce and Industry (FICCI), Mitra said, somebody has come here to say that they are interested in JV with the state government to set up the Tajpur port. The state government has not yet received any proposal from any side.
“Let them put the proposal. But we are self-assured that the state government would lead this project to the path of success with its own capability. We are accountable to the people of the state,” Mitra, also the finance minister of West Bengal, added.
“There will be a huge port, which would be constructed by the state government. Ten thousand jobs will be generated, which is the main point to be pondered over for the state government. This will be direct job generation on port and port connected movement. There will also be indirect investment, which we are not calculating at this moment. I wish there would be 30-40 thousand indirect employment as well.
“The Chief Minister has instructed to set up an industrial hub there. We are acting as per her instruction. She had said in the Cabinet meeting that we need to build an integrated industrial hub connected with small industrial parks. So we are not only restricting the opportunity within the ambit of port itself. The government will set up the infrastructure with the help of private players,” Mitra said.
The minister said: “The state will have to build the infrastructure of the port there. The state highway has to expand to four lanes to connect with national highway. The state highway there is only 7 km away from the national highway. There are three railway stations with close proximity to the proposed Tajpur port. We’ll be ready with the infrastructure that private players would not have any hesitation to invest here. Rs 10,000 crore will be invested here for the first phase, followed by an investment of Rs 6,000 crore in the second phase. Nine berths will be made. The first 6 berth will be made in the first phase and the second phase will initiate rest three berths.
“The economy growth of the West Bengal has been 12 per cent in the year. If you compound this fact, then three ports in the close proximity can stand each other successfully. I know a state where 12 ports are there. All of those ports are financially viable as they are doing good business,” Mitra said, adding global analytical company CRISIL has made the detail project report (DPR) for the Tajpur Port.