Wednesday, February 5, 2014

New Land Policy comes as a breather for Chennai Port


The new Land Policy unveiled by the Shipping Ministry could bring the much needed relief to the Chennai Port, which was struggling with its idle plots after the Madras High Court banned handling of dusty cargoes like coal and iron ore here, Port Trust Chairman Atulya Misra has said.

Speaking to reporters after explaining about the advantages of the Shipping Ministry’s new policy on land utilization here, he said: “The new policy guidelines provide us a great opportunity to make up the losses incurred after High Court-effected ban on handling of coal and iron ore in 2011. After the court order, both the plots remain vacant and not generating the revenue it had generated over the years.”

With the new land utilization policy in place now, Chennai Port can go for a long term lease of those idle plots (iron ore and coal yards) and if we succeed in getting a best offer in the process, it would help us make up the Rs. 150 to Rs. 200-crore loss incurred due to ban on handling dusty cargo, Mr. Misra told reporters.

It may be noted here that the new policy brings in a transparent mechanism for leasing and licensing of land in possession of Major Ports (operated by the Ministry of Shipping) inside the Custom bonded area for short term licences (from the existing 11-month period up to five years now) and outside the Custom bonded area on long term leases for a maximum of 30 years.

“For any investor, who wanted to pump in a huge sum to develop infrastructure facilities at the plot he was allotted by the port management for handling cargo, the 11-month period brought uncertainty on renewal of lease and hence it proved detrimental in convincing the investor. Under the new policy, the period of five years would definitely help the investor as the plot has to remain under his custody for a longer period,” Mr. Atulya Misra added.

Mr. Misra stated: “With the approval of the Union Cabinet, a major hurdle that prevented the growth of Major Ports has been removed. Till recently, Major Ports were not permitted to allot lands on long term leases, whereas the minor ports (across the country) were not having such problems. The new policy would enable us to become competitive. Even those who do not have exposure to port activities can take part in port projects.”

Mr. M. A. Bhaskarachar, CMD, Ennore Port, said that the new land policy would also help the port in a great way. “Though most of our existing land has been allocated for different players already, the new policy would come as handy when we acquire about 735 acres of land from the Salt Department for expansion activities in future.”

Besides HoDs of the Chennai Port Trust, Mr. P. C. Parida, Deputy Chairman, Chennai Port Trust, attended the event and made a presentation to Media persons on the new land policy.

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