BERHAMPUR:THE proposed port at Bahuda Muhana in Ganjam district is yet to see the light of the day. Though the Centre in 2011 had asked the State Government to arrange required land for opening of a new port and a ship manufacturing unit, the latter is yet to decide on the modalities in this regard.
Sources said in 2011-12, the Centre had decided to set up seven new ports in seven coastal States during the 12th Five Year Plan with an estimated investment between `18,000 crore and `20,000 crore to create capacity handling around 3,200 MT of cargo through sea route. In August 2011, the Ministry of Shipping, in a letter, asked all the Chief Secretaries of the States, including Odisha, to identify site for the new port and a ship manufacturing unit. The Union Shipping Minister had also urged all the chief ministers to expedite the process of land identification and finalisation of modalities.
Later, Odisha had engaged WAPCOS, a Central Government undertaking consultancy company, to make a detailed Pre-Techno Economic Feasibility Study. The firm had found Bahuda Muhana, where the coast length is about 20-30 km and 2,000-acre back-up land is available, suitable for the project. The study report submitted to the State Government in 2012 had estimated the cost of proposed port at `3,454 crore with the internal rate of return at 16.75 per cent. The proposed site has potential to handle crude oil vessel of 3,00,000 DWT capacity.
Even Paradip Port Trust (PPT) had expressed its interest to develop a satellite port near Bahuda Muhana, the port site located at a distance of 30 km south of the existing Gopalpur port and 18 km from Berhampur, the commercial hub of south Odisha. They had also identified 2,000 acres of land near the site. Again in 2012, the PPT had proposed to be an equity partner with the State Government to set up the port at Bahuda Muhana, but the proposal is yet to be considered.Despite intervention of several MPs of south and western Odisha to expedite the proposal for setting up the new port, no action has been taken so far.