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Karaikal, Puducherry port projects to take off shortly

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SET FOR DEVELOPMENT: The area near lighthouse where the jetties of the new port in Puducherry will come up.
SET FOR DEVELOPMENT: The area near lighthouse where the jetties of the new port in Puducherry will come up.

Rajesh Nair

Land already handed over to private players for development

PUDUCHERRY: Two major infrastructure projects of the Government the new port at Karaikal and modernisation of the Puducherry port will take off soon.

As per the decision taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Lieutenant Governor Mukut Mithi last week, the entire land needed for establishing the port at Karaikal was handed over on Monday to a private player.

"We have received 600 acres of land and decided to start the basic works from Thursday," B. G Menon, Chief Executive Officer, (Infrastructure Basic Unit) MARG Construction Company, Chennai, the private player who would develop it on the "Build, Operate and Transfer" basis, he said.

They would operate the port initially for a 30-year period, as per the agreement.

He said the company, through its wholly owned subsidy, Karaikal Port Private Limited, would invest Rs.416 crore. As per the agreement between the administration and the company, the latter would pay 2.6 per cent of the revenue as concession fee annually for 30 years to the Government. The first phase of the all-weather deep-water port includes construction of two jetties, dredging and reclamation of land, construction of breakwaters, construction of utility space and storage area. The traffic movement studies by the company show that the port would be able to handle 4 million tonnes in the beginning.

"The project will be completed in two years. At least 1,000 skilled and unskilled workers will be recruited," Mr. Menon told The Hindu .

As far as the modernisation of the Puducherry Port, the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) study had been completed and a public hearing would be held on February 14. After getting the response, the EIA report would be submitted to the Union Ministry of Environment for final clearance, Port Minister E. Valsaraj said.

However, the Government had already handed over 153 acres of land to a private venture to develop the port on BOT basis. It is learnt that another 137 acres would be handed over very soon.

The Government had entrusted port modernisation work to Pondicherry Port Ltd (PPL), a special purpose vehicle floated jointly by Subhash Projects and Marketing Ltd, Bangalore, and Om Metals Ltd, Delhi. PPL planned to invest Rs.2,200 crore in four phases and give direct employment to 5,000 people, according to Sharad Segani of the PPL. For the Pondicherry Port too, the revenue sharing was the same, but the lease period is for 51 years.

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