Kolkata, March 18: After failing to get any private player to set up the proposed Haldia Dock II project at Salukkhali, the Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) Monday said it is hopeful of getting proposals from private parties by March 28 after it agreed to extend the stipulated date.
“We are hopeful of getting bids by March 28 as we gave more time to the bidders,” KoPT chairman Raj Pal Singh Kahlon told reporters here.
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 Salukhali dock. The firms that picked up the tender papers did not submit the bids by the stipulated date.
“In the RFQ (request for quotation) stages, we had shortlisted eight companies. Within the eight firms, three has shown interest but have sought more time to submit request for proposals (RFPs). Now we have given them more time and hope that we will get the proposals,” Kahlon said.
According to him, there were apprehensions among the private firms basically on the security and environment clearances for the proposed project.
The union environment and forests ministry 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, but instead extended twice since then.
“We are now addressing those issues and will do whatever is required to keep pollution under control. And also I learnt informally that the Central Pollution Control Board is examining new data from the state pollution control board and they are likely to review it,” the KoPT official said.
On the port authorities’ search for a replacement of a private port equipment operator at the Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) after the latter quit last year, Kahlon said negotiations were on.
Two berths at Haldia had earlier been operated by HBT, a joint venture between Mumbai-based ABG and French firm LDA, but it walked out of the HDC alleging “unsafe environment” during late last year. Following that the port authorities launched a search for a new operator.
Bids for the two berths were opened and two firms showed interests.
Kahlon said the KoPT was now negotiating with the TM International Logistics Ltd. (TMILL), an arm of Tata Steel Ltd., for reaching a “mutually agreeable price” for operating at the two berths.