New Land Use Policy Seeks to Augment Revenue for Major Ports - The New Indian Express

New Land Use Policy Seeks to Augment Revenue for Major Ports

Published: 17th January 2014 08:29 AM

Last Updated: 17th January 2014 12:52 PM

The Union Government on Thursday announced new policy guidelines for land management by major ports in the country that will help leverage their land resources for commercial advantage.

“So far, the land utilisation has not been optimum and often yielded lesser returns. The thrust of the policy has been on linking the value of land with prevailing market rates,” said an official statement.

Reacting to the policy guidelines,  Chennai Port Trust (ChPT) Chairman Atulya Misra said that the decision will offset revenue loss incurred in the ban on handling dusty cargoes, especially coal and iron ore by ChPT.

All the ports handle approximately 61% of cargo traffic. These ports have between them 2.64 lakh acres of land.
Under the new regime, land can be allotted only through licensing in custom bond areas by inviting competitive bidding, while land outside custom bond areas can be leased through tender-cum-auction.

There is also a provision to license land outside custom bond areas, but it should be only for port related activities.

“The policy has removed the biggest hurdle for the port administrations allowing the ChPT board to lease out the land for long tenures to a maximum of 30 years without having to get the permission of the government,” Misra said adding this will provide comfort zone for cargo handling firms since there is a mid-term lease of five years and the investors will come with certainty that they can prevail in the port for a decent time.

“The revenue loss incurred in the ban of dusty cargo handling is to the tune of `220 crore per annum while optimum utilisation of the land area may fetch `250 crore through alternate cargo, especially foodgrains and fertilizers and cars,” he said.

M A Bhaskarachar, CMD of Ennore Port, said that they were in the process of acquiring about 700 acres from salt department.

“The Boards of respective ports can approve leasing of land for a period up to 30 years. For leasing of land beyond 30 years and up to 99 years, approval of the Government has to be obtained through the mechanism of Empowered Committee,”  the statement said quoting Shipping Secretary Vishwapati Trivedi .

Discretionary powers have been reduced and tender-cum-auction has been prescribed as most preferred method of allotment, Trivedi said.

During 2013-14, it is planned to augment port capacity by 220 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) through 30 port projects. Out of these 20 port projects, with a capacity of 100 MTPA have already been approved. The remaining projects, including the `8,000 crore JNPT Terminal-4, are likely to be approved during fourth quarter of current fiscal.

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