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Seasonal port at Gopalpur becomes functional

ON EVEN KEEL: Gopalpur port once again bustles with activity on Tuesday.

ON EVEN KEEL: Gopalpur port once again bustles with activity on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: Photo: Lingaraj Panda

Sib Kumar Das

The idea is to transform it into an all-weather one by 2009

GOPALPUR PORT (Ganjam district): After remaining defunct for five years, the seasonal anchorage port at Gopalpur became functional on Tuesday under its new management, Gopalpur Ports Limited (GPL).

The GPL has taken over the task of transforming this anchorage port managed by the State government since 1987 into an all-weather one.

A ship assigned to carry 50,000 tonnes of mineral cargo from the unit of the Indian Rare Earths Limited (IREL) in Ganjam district to Norway anchored at a distance of more than one kilometre from the jetty of the port at 8 a.m. The cargo was loaded into barges to be carried to the ship.

Speaking to The Hindu , the director of the GPL, Mahima Mishra said they had to spend around Rs. 160 crore within past one month to make this defunct port ready to welcome cargo ships. It is just a small step towards metamorphosis of this port in a major all-season port of the eastern coast by 2009.

Ready for challenge

"Although we are loading with barges we have taken up a challenge to load 50,000 tonnes of cargo on the ship in deep sea in ten days," he said.

The State government had given one and half year's time to the GPL to make the port functional again but the company managed to complete work in one month.

Tech consultants

Mr. Mishra and D.P. Singh, another director of the GPL, said they planned to have eight berths at the proposed all-weather port. It would involve simultaneous work of dredging of the channel, construction of berths and erection of `breakwater' walls to check silting. Experts from IIT Chennai are the technical consultants of the Gopalpur port project.

The seasonal port would again start its operations from September while work on infrastructure development would also be continuing.

The whole project involves an investment of over Rs. 1,700 crore .

The GPL happens to be a consortium of Orissa Stevedores Ltd. (OSL), Noble Group Ltd. of Hong Kong and Sara International Ltd., which entered into an MoU with the Orissa government on September 14 last year to take over the Gopalpur port to develop it into a major all-weather one on Build-Operate-Own-Share-Transfer (BOOST) basis.

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