Will keep extending date for proposals for Haldia Dock II: KoPT

Kolkata, May 6 (IANS) After failing to get a private player to set up the proposed Haldia Dock II project at Salukkhali even after extending the stipulated date twice for proposals, the Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) Monday said it would keep extending the date till it gets suitable proposals.

The Rs.1,700 crore new facility at Salukkhali was proposed to be implemented through the public-private-partnership (PPP) route. KoPT was hopeful that the new dock would be ready by 2016-17.

However, till now port authorities have failed to get any private player to build the proposed dock. Firms that picked up the tender papers did not submit their bids by the stipulated date even after the authorities extended the date twice.

The KoPT has now extended the stipulated date for the third time to May 17.

“We did get the response. But they (private companies) said they want the date to be extended. We will go on extending the time till we get a suitable bidder. We have no option,” KoPT chairman R.P.S. Kahlon said.

“I think they wanted to do their homework (on the project). They also wanted to see its economic feasibility,” he said.

According to him, there were apprehensions among private firms on the security and environment clearances for the proposed project.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests had imposed a moratorium on setting up new industrial plants at Haldia in West Bengal’s East Midnapore district. The ban, imposed in 2009, has not been lifted despite repeated appeals from the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government. Instead, the ban has been extended twice since then.

“We are now waiting for the moratorium to be lifted,” the KoPT chairman said.

He, however, said five to six companies were interested in the project and the port was expecting proposals from two firms among them.

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