Phasing out of dredging subsidy to hit cargo volume: KoPT chairman

Kolkata, May 6 (IANS) With talks on to phase out dredging subsidy to Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT), its chairman R.P.S. Kahlon Monday feared that any such decision would lead to a further decrease in draft level of its riverine port facilities, causing the volume of cargo to decline drastically.

“If dredging subsidy discontinues, then the present level of draft will decline further and volume of cargo will come down,” Kahlon told reporters at an event organised by MCC Chamber of Commerce and Industry here.

The union finance ministry has reportedly taken a decision to phase out dredging subsidy to KoPT by five percent in 2013-14 and there after by ten percent every year till it is reduced to zero.

Kahon, however, said the government has not yet informed the port authorities about the decision in “writing”.

“There is thinking in the Planning Commission to seriously consider whether they will continue the dredging subsidy but they (finance ministry) have not told us in writing,” he said.

He said cancelling dredging subsidy would reduce the cargo flow drastically.

KoPT had received nearly Rs.500 crore subsidy for dredging in order to maintain the draft of the riverine port facilities at Haldia and Kolkata in the face of high silt deposition.

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