The government today said it will convene a high-level meeting by February 12 to address concerns expressed by the Orissa government that stretching the Kolkata Port territorial limit will impact 6-7 smaller ports coming up along the Orissa coastline.
The development comes in the wake of Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik lodging a protest with Shipping Minister G K Vasan here, demanding a recall of the notification for extension of the Kolkata port boundary, terming it arbitrary.
“The Orissa CM expressed apprehensions that extending the limits of the Kolkata Port would impact 6-7 non-major ports in the North Coast. To allay his fears and find an amicable solution, senior ministry officials will hold a meeting with State officials in 10 days,” Shipping Minister G K Vasan told PTI.
The Centre is not against non-major ports and “I have assured him that in no way extension of the boundary will impact the growth of upcoming ports in State,” Mr. Vasan said.
Earlier, talking to reporters, Mr. Patnaik said he has demanded a roll-back of the notification issued arbitrarily by the Centre revising the limits of the Kolkata Port Trust in the Bay of Bengal, which poses a threat to non-major ports.
“Extending the limit would engulf vast areas in the state and affect the upcoming port at Dhamra,” Mr. Patnaik said, asserting the decision was against Orissa.
Following the revision, the Kolkata Port’s territorial limit has been extended to more than 200 km South of Haldia, into the Bay of Bengal, covering an area of 28,646 square kilometres.
Apart from the Kolkata Port, Mr. Vasan said the transfer of land for the Paradip Port in Orissa was also discussed in the meeting, besides the steps needed to expedite projects being implemented under a public-private partnership (PPP) model.
“Overall, it was a positive discussion,” he said, adding that the issue of transfer of 6,000 acres of land to the Paradip Port was also discussed in the meeting, besides the proposal for a trans-shipment facility to the Kolkata Port, which is near the upcoming Dhamra port.
At present, India has 13 major ports - Mumbai, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, Kolkata (with Haldia), Chennai, Visakhapatanam, Cochin, Paradip, New Mangalore, Marmagao, Ennore, Tuticorin, Kandla and Port Blair - under the control of the Centre, besides about 200 non-major ports operated by the States and private parties.