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Paradip: The Port Town in transformation
"Equipped with 14 berths with 51.40 million tonnes per annum handling capacity, Paradeep Port is yet to utilize its full capacity. As a number of steel plants and other allied industries are coming up within 200kms of the port and requests are pouring in from investors like Jindal Steel & Power, Visa Industries etc. for captive berthing facilities."
HNF Bureau : May 30, 2007
Economic resurgence of India has its impact not only in cities that are already big, small towns in and around the existing and proposed industrial complexes are also on rapid transformation into economic activity centers. Leading in the transformation highway to metamorphose itself into the maritime heart of India is Paradeep that carries one of the twelve major ports of India. Witnessed a beeline of investors in the mineral based industry sector in the last couple of years, however, Orissa is fortunate to have a place in the maritime map of India with some big and small port towns playing a key role in making the State a place of economic happenings.
As one of the major ports in the eastern part of India, Paradip port was known for export of minerals like iron ore, coal etc. to several countries. However, the announcement of South Korean Steel giant POSCO to set up a 12 million ton per annum (MTPA) capacity steel plant in the area with an whooping investment to the tune of $ 12 billion (Rs 52,000 crore) brought the port town to international attention. Apart from it there are also huge investments lining up to the port city and nearby areas for industrialisation and SEZs. Apart from the industries like Paradip Phosphates Limited (PPL), Indian Farmer’s Fertilizer Co-Operative Ltd (IFFCO) plant and edible oil plant of Kargil Foods, the comparatively small port town is going big with lots of expectations from the proposed $4 billion refinery and petrochemical project of Indian Oil Corporation and steel projects by several companies are under process.
Although the progress in the Posco project faces local resistance, the Korean major is hopeful to overcome all hurdles and realise its steel project near Paradeep. Apart from the plant, POSCO-India also plans to have its own captive port, captive power plant apart from joint venture participation in road and railways project.
As steel plants demand huge support of infrastructure, both the state and central governments ave started working in his regard. Four laning of road from Chandikhol to Paradip (NH-5A) has been taken up at an estimated cost of Rs.430.00 crores while improvement of road from Cuttack to Paradip (SH-12) is underway at an estimated cost of Rs.200.00 crores. On railway front nine public and private sector companies, including POSCO, SAIL, RVNL and Paradip Port Trust, recently signed a shareholders’ agreement for the 82-km Haridaspur-Paradip rail link under the public-private partnership (PPP) model with an estimated budget Rs 598-crore. The existing Cuttack-Paradip railway line has been doubled and the work on its electrification is in progress.
The major thrust of this large scale development is the Paradip port, which was declared a major port in April 1966 under the Provision of the Major Port Trust Act, 1963. Managed by Paradip Port Trust set up in 1962 by the Government of Orissa and later taken over by the Government of India in 1965, the port has been the main out-let and in-let for the sea-borne trade on the eastern part of the country covering states such as Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. It is also the nearest deep port for the entire East-North-East part of the country.
Seeing the upcoming industry cluster the port is now mulling expansion to enable itself to handle the expected huge cargo from these industries. Equipped with 14 berths with 51.40 million tonnes per annum handling capacity, Paradeep Port is yet to utilize its full capacity. As a number of steel plants and other allied industries are coming up within 200kms of the port and requests are pouring in from investors like Jindal Steel & Power, Visa Industries etc. for captive berthing facilities and also the need for separate berth for handling clean cargo, the increased capacity is something being looked at seriously.
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To meet these additional requirements, the Western Dock System having a provision for 8 berths to handle Panamax and Handimax ships is being planned by the port authority. Also Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) is developing a SPM for handling crude oil while Reliance is also setting up its tank terminal facilities for import of POL through the existing oil jetty. The IOC refinery expected to come up by 2010 will be of 12 mmtpa capacity, scaleable to 15 mmtpa and will handle 100 per cent heavy crude oil.
Paradip Port will also be deepened to 17.1 metres from the present 12.8 metres to make it the deepest port in the country as part of the Union Govt’s Rs55, 000 crore plan to double port capacity in the country to 1,000 million tonne by 2012. According to Mr K. Raghuramaiah, Chairman of Paradip Port Trust, the capacity of the Port will be increased to around 100 Million tonnes per annum with the completion of the expansion projects, which is likely to be achieved by the end of 11th Plan i.e. 2011-12 fiscal. By this capacity expansion, the Port will be in a position to take care of the rapid industrial growth in Orissa, he adds. On he proposed captive port of POSCO, the Paradip port authority are still of the view that the Korean steel giant, would need to use the facilities of Paradip port till its own port is ready for operation and the Paradip port hopes to handle large volumes of project cargo on this account.
Following the rush of mineral based industries to the area big hotel groups have announced to set their shop in the port city of Paradip. The city, which only had one manageable hotel, that too without star status, is now going to have a series of hotels of big hoteliers in India. Along with the Tata Group, which has planned to be part of the development happening at the place through setting up its economy range of hotel chain ‘Ginger’, the SPS group and the Radisson group are also coming to the place to cash on the emerging industrial boom. The famous Taj group, which is in the advanced stage of construction of its hotel in Bhubaneswar, is also expected to venture into Paradip, the emerging industrial hub of the state.
While private companies are ready to go on the field, the state managed Orissa State Housing Board (OSHB) has also decided to conduct a demand survey for developing satellite townships in Paradip.