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Iron ore movement to Paradip hit

Santanu Sanyal

Orissa Govt imposes restriction on truck traffic from Barbil

Kolkata , March 8

The transportation of iron ore from the mines to Paradip port for exports has been hit for the past few days as the Orissa Government has imposed restriction on the movement of trucks between Barbil and the port.

As against the normal arrival of 2,000 trucks a day on an average, only a couple of hundreds are now arriving in the port and the figure, it is feared, may drop further in the next few days.

It might be recalled road transportation of iron ore had remained suspended for several days in January in the wake of police firing in Kalinga Nagar.

Since April last year, as Paradip Port Trust (PPT) sources point out, the road transportation of ore to the port had remained suspended for nearly 80 days and another 10 days may be lost in the current fiscal, thus totalling 90 days or roughly three months.

Meanwhile, a team of experts representing the Russian steel producing firm, MMK, visited Paradip port recently as part of its countrywide reconnaissance mission to have a first hand knowledge of the mineral reserves, connectivity and port facilities available for setting up a steel plant.

Russia plans

The team was accompanied by a senior official of Ranchi-based MECON, which is acting as the consultant.

Enquiries reveal that the Russian firm is toying with the idea of setting up in Keonjhar district of Orissa a steel plant of the capacity of five mt initially, to be stepped up to 10 mt subsequently.

"The Russian experts visited sites of Dhamra port as well as Gopalpur port but gave the impression that Paradip would be best suited for their purpose," Mr K. Raghuramaiah, Chairman of Paradip Port Trust, told Business Line over phone from Paradip.

Asked if the team wanted any captive port facility, the Chairman replied, "it transpired from their discussion that the need for captive berth would arise only if the firm in question undertook exports of finished steel products and the question of export again would arise only if the Indian domestic market proved to be unattractive and inadequate as the first priority of the firm would be to sell the products in the domestic market."

PPT, according to the Chairman, however, made it clear to the visiting delegation that the captive facility would be made available provided the firm invested in it.

"We have made our presentations and explained to them the kind of facilities we currently have and are likely to have in future and it is now for them to decide," Mr Raghuramaiah added.

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