By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, June 5, 2018: Decks are cleared for the construction of Subarnarekha port in Odisha with the defence ministry giving its nod to the project, officials said here on Tuesday.

Chennai-based Creative Port Private Ltd (CPPL) has proposed construction of an all-weather deep-draft commercial port at Subarnarekha River and steel major Tata Steel has signed an agreement with the Chennai firm to pick up 51 per cent equity in the port project from the original promoters.

“Ministry of Defence has given the nod for construction of a port on Subarnarekha river mouth on the Bay of Bengal in Balasore district. Decks have been cleared for the project and the construction will start shortly,” a state government statement said.

The proposed port project hanged in balance as it is located close to the integrated test range site of the defence ministry at Chandipur near Balasore. Earlier, the ministry had certain objections to the project.

The state government had handed over 692.68 acre to the port developers. “This port will spur faster economic development of northern Odisha”, Sanjeev Chopra, Principal Secretary, Industries Department, Odisha government said.

“Though 961.18 acre of land is required for the port, the government has allotted 692.68 acre to the developers as about 128.8 acre of government land remains encroached. The Balasore collector has been asked to evict the encroachers,” the statement said.

Port-based industrialisation is a major thrust area for the state with three ports already operational at Paradip, Dhamra and Gopalpur.

CPPL had signed an MoU with the Odisha government on December 18, 2006 to develop the project. Later, the revenue sharing agreement was inked between the two sides on January 11, 2008, it said.

“The Union ministry of environment and forests had accorded environment clearance to the proposed port project in 2012, but it hit a roadblock with the defence ministry raising objections. However, this hurdle is over with the defence ministry giving conditional clearance,” the statement added.

According to the revenue-sharing agreement signed originally, the port would have an initial capacity of 10 million tonnes per annum (MTPA), which is to be raised to 40 MTPA over 10 years, it added.

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