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Dhamra Port on schedule

Special Correspondent

First phase to cost Rs. 2,463 crore

MUMBAI: Dhamra Port Company Ltd. (DPCL), a 50:50 joint venture of Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Tata Steel to set up a port at Dhamra, Orissa is expected to commission the port by April 2010. Estimated to cost Rs. 2,463 crore in the first phase, more than 25 per cent of the work has already been completed.

The first phase will see two of the total 13 berths being developed with the northernmost being for liquid cargo, the southernmost for clean cargo and the middle berth for dry bulk cargo.

According to Santosh Mohapatra, CEO, DPCL, the two berths will have basic loading-unloading facilities. In the first phase, the capacity of the port will be 25 million tonnes annually, ultimately going to 80 million tonnes annually.

The Dhamra port site is north of the river Dhamra and will come up as a deep draft port which can accommodate super cape size vessels. A number of steel plants, apart from Tata Steel, are coming up in the three states of Orissa, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

The project has received all statutory clearances including the environment clearance from the Government of India and the No objection certificate from the Pollution Control Board of the state. This clearance has been challenged before the National Environment Appellate Authority on certain grounds including its effect on the endangered olive ridley turtles for which the Orissa coast is the largest nesting site in the world. Speaking to The Hindu, Ashish Fernandes, Oceans Campaigner, Greenpeace said, “There are concerns regarding the loss of turtles during the dredging process and also the impact the lighting in the port will have on the turtles. Also, with other industries that will subsequently come up in the region, will no doubt have an impact on the turtles.” It is estimated that only one in a hundred turtle hatchlings survive anyway.

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