Central team in Haldia, holds talks

The team from the Ministry of Shipping, which arrived at Haldia port on Friday, today spoke with the officers of Haldia port and members of the Haldia Dock Bachao Committee regarding the impasse prevailing at the port after ABG-led HBT's pull out.

The team led by Janardan Rao, managing director, Indian Port Association, S Tripathy, deputy secretary, ministry of shipping and Anuj Agarwal, a senior officer of the Union Ministry of Shipping who looks after PPP projects, today spoke with the officers of Haldia Dock Bachao Committee. They plan to speak with the retrenched labourers of ABG on Sunday.

The officers of the Haldia Dock Bachao Committee discussed three proposals which include immediate intervention of Centre by convening a tripartite meeting with KOPT and the state government to resolve the impasse at Haldia port. They also opposed the tender that was floated on November 14 for carrying out on-shore and on-board operations at berths 2 and 8.

The officers today said that in the new tender, the reserve price to carry out operations by the private cargo-handling company needs to be fixed as it has not been mentioned. "Earlier in 2009, when ABG-led HBT got the contract, KOPT had fixed the reserved price at Rs 75 per metric tonne per day. Why have they not fix the reserved price this time", a senior officer of the Haldia Dock Bachao Committee said.

They claim that if the reserve price is not fixed, the private cargo-handling company will claim excess money, which will lead to a loss for the port.

The officers today also said that the tender that has been floated for berth 4B did not mention about the on-shore operations and thus they have demanded cancellation of the old tender and to float a fresh tender. They also said that shore operations should be integrated with on-board operations at berth 4B. The officers claim that after ABG's pull-out, the port has lost around Rs 80 crore from berths 2 and 8. Therefore, they demanded that shore operations at other berths - 5,6,7,9,10,12 and 13 - should be given to private cargo-handling companies, which has been the practice till now.

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