Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government put on fast track the four port projects that are under various stages of implementation.

The issues relating to the expansion of Dhamra Port, completion of Gopalpur Port, and progress of Subarnarekha and Astaranga port were discussed at a review meeting chaired by the state chief secretary, AP Padhi, here on Wednesday. The status of the port projects were presented by the commerce and transport principal secretary G. Srinivas, and special secretary Manoj Mishra along with the representatives of the port promoting companies.

The chief secretary  directed Dhamara Port Company to expedite the process of the construction of 2nd phase expansion and finalize 3rd Phase expansion plan for advance action. He also asked the port promoter to prepare the detail project report (DPR)  for establishment of an air strip over 225 acres of land in the vicinity of Dhamara port. Padhi also directed IDCO to protect and reserve around 1000 acre of land for port based industrial park near Dhamara. The Collector Bhadrak was also asked to reserve the available government land in Chandbali and Basudevpur tehasil for the purpose. Principal secretary  Srinivas advised Dhamara Port Company to submit detail proposal for sanction of sufficient number of rakes in railway.

Target was set to complete current construction works of Gopalpur Port project within June, 2019. Collector Ganjam was asked to finalize railway siding matter with IREL. Chief secretary directed the department of fisheries and animal resource development to expedite the process for construction of the fishing harbor at Gopalpur. It was decided to move to the ministry of railways for doubling of the line from Chhatrapur to Gopalpur.

The chief secretary directed the Subarnarekha Port Pvt. Ltd. to start ground level construction works immediately pointing out that around 693 acers of land had been handed over to port promoter. He also asked to submit DPR for construction of economic corridor. Similarly, the project proponent of Astarang port was advised to take expeditious steps for obtaining environmental clearances and complete social impact assessment study through appropriate authority for construction of the port.

The  chief minister Naveen Patanaik had inaugurated Dhamara Port on December 18, 2011. Since then the port is operating with two of berths with annual cargo handling capacity of 25 million ton. The port has developed 17.2 mtrs of navigation channel for facilitation of import and export activities. It also has developed an economic corridor with 62km of rail line. The port handled around 21.42 million tons of cargo during 2016-17 thereby recording a growth of around 40% over the last year. The port has targeted to start container business in the month of March, 2018.  So far around 3272 persons have been employed in the port out of which around 88% are local Odia youths.

Gopalpur port commenced operation on March 29, 2013 but was subsequently shut down because of the damage caused by the cyclone Phailin.  After necessary repairs,  the port has again started operations from December 8, 2015 and since then the port has handled cargo volume of around 2 million tons The port has set the target  to strengthen the existing berths and construct  two new berths by March, 2019. The target was also set in the meeting to complement the dredging up to 15 meters by June, 2019. Chief secretary directed the project developer to complete back yard development and utilities by June, 2019.

Agriculture production commissioner  Ganagn Kumar Dhal,  industries  principal secretary industries Sanjeeb Chopra, revenue and disaster management principal secretary Dr C.S.Kumar, general administration principal secretary Ashok Meena, energy secretary Hemant Kumar Sharma, Idco CMD Sanjaya Singh, works secretary  Nalini Kanta Pradhan, and principal chief conservator of forests Subash Mishra  participated in the discussions.  Ganjam collector PC Choudhury, Bhadrak collector GR Das, Balasore collector  PK Das and Puri collector A  Agarwal participated in the discussion over video conferencing.