On an island in the Hooghly River near Balagarh, some 75 km north of Kolkata, the process of creating a port facility for barges has begun. The facility will be built on 100 acres of island owned by Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port (SMP) Kolkata (formerly known as Kolkata Port Trust) under a public-private partnership (PPP).
According to SMP Kolkata officials, this barge port will help relieve the Kolkata Dock System (KDS).
“This project is called the Extended Port Gate Facility. In phase I, two berths will be built there. Trucks transporting cargo from the north to KDS no longer have to go to Kolkata. You can unload this cargo in Balagarh. From there they are transported to KDS by barges. Similarly, northbound cargo arriving at Kidderpore or Netaji Subhas docks may be transported by barge to Balagarh where trucks would await onward passage to multiple destinations,” said an SMP official.
Such a coordinated movement is not only environmentally friendly but also leads to a reduction in the number of trucks reaching Kolkata. It will also contribute to economic growth in and around Balagarh which is a backward part of Hooghly district with no industries and employment opportunities.
SMP Kolkata Chair PL Haranadh and Vice Chair Samrat Rahi visited the site a few days ago and discussions with CESC and other stakeholders have started.
SMP Kolkata has also initiated the process of obtaining the necessary clearances and regulatory approvals for the project.
Officials are optimistic about the prospect of this barge port supporting barge transport between Varanasi and states like Assam in the north-east of the country via Bangladesh. The berths could serve as stopovers for ships. You can also load cargo directly for Varanasi or Assam.
The project cost is expected to be around Rs 450 crore. Of this, SMP Kolkata will invest Rs 100 crore in infrastructure development such as road access, dredging and river bank protection. The remaining Rs 350 crore will be invested by the PPP partners to provide the berths and bring in the necessary equipment.
Source: www.maritimegateway.comShare it now
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