| New Port on Sagar Island
to be built with Japanese Collaboration
19th May, 2004
Sagar Island, one
of the largest Sundarban islands, is all set to have
the deepest port in eastern India, according to an Anandabazar
Patrika article dated 14 March 2004. The following information
has been gleaned from a Wildlife Protection Society
of India (WPSI) translation of the article.
Planned along the southern coast of Sagar Island, the
port falls under the jurisdiction of the Kolkata Port
Trust. Funds have been made available under ex-Prime
Minister A.B. Vajpayee’s Rs. 1 lakh crore Sagarmala
Project that aims to modernise the Indian maritime infrastructure
along the east and west coasts.
The port will certainly need substantial expenditure
on infrastructure. The Hugli channel at the port will
be dredged to a depth of 125m from its current depth
of 10m. A 4-kilometre bridge across the Muriganga River
will connect the port to the mainland. This bridge might
also be used to carry transmission lines from the mainland,
since almost all power in Sagar is presently wind and
solar generated. Another option is to power the port
with diesel generators.
A low interest-rate loan by Japanese collaborators
will fund 85% of the project. The port authorities have
considered various options of repayment one of which
is to distribute various berths to private builders
on a Build-Operate-Transfer basis.
The feasibility report, to be prepared by the Overseas
Coastal Area Development Institute, will be ready within
the next 15 months. Construction will start once a global
tender is awarded. The port authorities expect the dock
complex to be partially functional by 2007.
The actual size of the port will be known after the
feasibility report is published. However, its handling
capacity will be large enough to easily process more
goods than the Kolkata-Haldia docks, which handled 4
crore tons of goods in the 2003-04 financial year. Once
completed, the Kolkata-Haldia-Sagar system is expected
to attract large merchant ships that now go to Paradeep.