Rajesh B. Nair

It had sought a berthing facility at new port coming up at Vanjoor

Meeting will discuss security, commercial aspects: Minister

Police also plans to use berthing facility for off-shore patrol boats

PUDUCHERRY: Lieutenant Governor Govind Singh Gurjar has convened a meeting to discuss the issues arising out of the demand made by the Coast Guard to have a berthing facility at the new port coming up at Vanjoor in the Karaikal region.

The meeting will be held on Friday at Raj Nivas and attended by senior officials from the territorial administration, the Coast Guard and a team from the private firm, which has been given the task of developing the port, a senior government official told The Hindu. The Coast Guard has approached the private developer to part with an area within the port to berth its vessels. The maritime agency would need around 100 metres to berth its ships patrolling the Tamil Nadu coast and also facilities for its personnel inside the port.

The demand was placed before the private developer a few months ago, Port Department officials said.

When contacted, Home Minister E. Valsaraj, who also holds the Port portfolio, said, “There were no hiccups on the issue. The meeting convened by the Lieutenant Governor will discuss both the security and commercial aspects and take an appropriate decision.” Mr. Valsaraj said that since the land was given to the private developer for 30 years to develop and operate the port, there were certain legal issues involved.

Meanwhile, the Police Department also plans to use the berthing facility in the port for three off-shore patrol boats attached to the Coastal Police Station in Karaikal. The boats allotted to the territorial police by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs would be ready for operation by the end of March, a senior police officer said.

Mr. Valsaraj said that the first phase of the port project, taken up at the cost of around Rs. 350 crore, was nearing completion. Two jetties, one to handle coal and another for general cargo, with a total capacity of four million tonnes, were planned in the first phase, he said.