Chennai - The government will award about six public-private-partnership (PPP) projects in the port sector this fiscal, including a project of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan said Monday.
He also said that the Chennai Port Trust will redraw its business plans to compensate for the loss of revenue in handling dirty cargo.
Speaking to reporters here after an interactive session with exporters organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Vasan said: "We understand there are some delays in the award of PPP projects in the port sector. Around Rs.16,000 crore worth of projects, numbering 22, are under consideration. By March, five-six projects will be given permission, including the one at JNPT worth around Rs.6,700 crore."
Private investors in the port sector are complaining about the delay in getting clearances for their projects for various reasons.
Vasan said the Chennai Port Trust will focus on handling cleaner and containerised cargo as well as building parking lots to compensate for the loss of around Rs.226 crore revenue owing to the Madras High Courtâ€™s order banning handling of coal and iron orders by it.
He said a committee headed by Captain Mohan has submitted its report detailing the new areas for the Chennai Port Trust to focus on.
However, Vasan said he did not agree that the Chennai Port Trust and the shipping ministry did not foresee such a ban even after the construction of Ennore Port specifically to handle the dusty and dirty cargo.
According to Chennai Port Trust chairman Atulya Misra, the key recommendations of the Mohan Committee are for the port to focus on handling clean cargoes like containers, fertilisers, cruise shipping, food, wood and others.
Misra said the quantity of fertiliser handled by the port is on the rise.
â€ťWe are also looking at out-of-the-box ideas like car parks on PPP model for the use of general public owing to the increased availability of the space,â€ť Misra said.
He said the bid for the mega container terminal will be issued again this year.
On the issue of coastal shipping, Vasan said the government is in the process of discussing a new policy.
He said the new land policy (leasing and other usage of land) for ports has gone for inter-ministerial consultations and then it will be sent to the union cabinet.
Asked about the killing of two Indian fishermen by security personnel of an Italian ship off the Kollam coast near Kerala, Vasan said: â€śIndian water front is peaceful and is not a pirate area. The killing of fishermen is unpardonable and they have to be punished. It will be an example for others.â€ť