The Indian Coast Guard has sought provision for a berth for its own use at Beypore, a request that would necessitate changes in the master plan that the Port Department has chalked out for Beypore development.

The proposal put up by the Coast Guard is to have a 200-metre berth; if it is accepted, further changes have to be made in the master plan for Beypore development. Sources indicated that the changes would be made to accommodate the Coast Guard's proposal.

The need to change the master plan might delay floating of the global tender to identify a private partner for developing the port, the sources said.

According to the original plan, Beypore port, the second biggest port in the State after Kochi, would be developed to have more cargo and passenger facilities at a cost of Rs. 760 crore.

The upgrading of port facilities was to be made by deepening the basin from the existing four metres to 12 meters in stages, to allow vessels up to 20,000 dwt call at the port. A 400-metre wharf was also to be built in addition to the existing two wharves.

Recently, the Ports Department had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Lakshadweep Development Council (LDC) to let the latter construct a 200-metre berth exclusively for passengers to and from the island at a cost of Rs.20 crore. This had necessitated suitable changes in the original master plan.

A proposal has also been made to develop a township within a radius of 15 to 20 km of the port. Infrastructures Kerala Ltd. (Inkel), a State government agency, has been asked to find a consultant to prepare the master plan for the project. Inkel officials claim the project's target could be achieved with zero or minimal land acquisition.

Beypore appears to be well poised for major development since besides the proposed development programmes, the Defence Ministry has also decided to establish a Ship Designing and Manufacturing Centre in nearby Chaliyam.

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