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Logistics | Next


Decision on new site for Kakinada LNG terminal likely soon

Ch. R. S. Sarma

KAKINADA, April 30

THE proposed LNG terminal to be set up here by the consortium consisting of the IOC, L&T and other companies may be changed from Hope Island to a site on the shore in the port area and a decision on the issue will be taken by the end of May, the Roads an d Buildings Minister, Mr K. Vijayarama Rao, has said.

At a press meet after reviewing the functioning of both the deepwater port and the anchorage port here on Monday, the Minister said the environmental clearance for siting the LNG project on the Hope Island may be difficult to obtain, as several objection s had been raised.

However, three alternative sites on the shore had been inspected for the purpose and one of them may get the nod. It would mean an increase in the cost of the project by Rs 200 crore.

On the Hope Island, it would cost Rs 2,021 crore and on the shore Rs 2,200 crore or so. ``The State Government is very keen on seeing the project through and in all probability it may come up on the shore in the port area. However, the Hope Island propos al has not been shelved and the Government is still pursuing it,'' he clarified.

He said the deepwater port, being managed by the Cocanada Port Company Ltd, had handled 1.55 m.t. of cargo in the first year of operations and 1.85 m.t. in the second year (2000-2001), earning Rs 14.6 crore and Rs 18 crore respectively.

Though there had been some shortfall in the achievement of targets, the State Government had earned its minimum guaranteed amount and the target for the current year had been set at 3.5 m.t.. He expressed the confidence that the port would achieve the ta rget.

Mr M. Kamesam, the Chief Executive of the Cocanada Port Company here, said there had actually been no shortfall. As agricultural cargoes had been reserved for the anchorage port by the State Government and they constituted the bulk of the projections, th e port could not meet the targets.

In fact, the performance of the deepwater port had been much better than on paper, as it had succeeded in attracting other cargoes, he clarified.

Mr Vijayarama Rao, who also reviewed the performance of the anchorage port, said the State Government was committed to protecting the interests of the 10,000 workers dependent on the old port and it would make all efforts to route the proposed two lakh t onnes of rice exports to Bangladesh through the port here. The Government would create additional facilities at the anchorage port, if the local trade managed to attract cargoes. ``Broadly, the Government is committed to the policy of encouraging agri ex ports through the old Kakinada port and the workers need not have any apprehensions. This year, as rice exports have suffered all over the country, the old port here has also been hit and only five lakh tonnes of cargoes could be handled,'' he said.

The Minister rejected the plea put forward by Mr. B Ramamurthy, the Chairman of the Kakinada Barge Owners' Welfare Association, for construction of additional jetties and wharves at the old port.

``The existing jetties can handle up to 2.5 m.t. and there

is no need for anymore unless the cargoes increase substantially,'' he said. The honorary President of the Kakinada Port Workers' Union, Mr K. Janardhana Rao, said the State Government should not neglect the old port, as it was the only functioning port under the control of the State Government and as the deepwater port had been privatised.

``For more than five decades, these workers, hailing mainly from the fishermen community and having no other skills, are dependent on this old port and their interests should get the first priority,'' he said.

The anchorage workers complained to the Minister that the State Government had promised to them at the time of privatisation of the deepwater port that their claims would get precedence in filling up jobs at the new port, but the promise was not being ke pt.

Related links:
Hydrocarbon project at Kakinada -- IOC cartel to talk to AP Govt on PPA

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