Nitin Gadkari promises to resolve Reliance Industries Rewas Port issues in a month
Mumbai: Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries' plans to build the country's largest port at Rewas, off the city's southeast coast, which has been stuck for over a decade, may soon see the light of day.
Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari has promised to find a solution to the issues around getting the right of way from the Mumbai Port Trust for the around Rs. 6,000 crore port project, which will be the largest in the country with 70 berths with a capacity to handle 457 million tonnes of cargo per annum, at a reasonable rate and that too within a month.
"In next one month, we will have a final decision on this (the right of way issue from the Mumbai Port). A proposal from the MbPT will be kept before you and then we will take public views on it," Gadkari said.
An email sent to the company reminded unanswered.
Even though a memorandum of understanding to develop the port across the southeast cost of the financial capital was signed way back in 2002, work has been stuck due to issues around the right of way to be granted by the Mumbai Port Trust (MbTP). This is despite the fact that the project has all the environmental clearances in place.
According to Gadkari, ships entering the proposed Rewas Port will have to use a channel which falls under the control of the MbPT, for which the state-run port is demanding a high charge of Rs. 950 crore.
Gadkari's comments came following a request by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to clear the hurdles for the ambitious project, which has the potential to increase the cargo handling in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region massively.
A 2009 media report had said that the Rewas Port, when fully operational, would boast of 70 berths having a capacity to handle 457 million tonnes of cargo.
Against this, the country's 12 state-owned major ports, at present, have a combined capacity to handle around 800 million tonne cargo per annum.
"The concessionaire (RIL-Jai Corp consortium) has all the environmental permissions in place, but no right of way from the Mumbai Port. Investments of over Rs. 5,000 crore are stuck and the nation is at a loss," Fadnavis said over the weekend at a function attended by Gadkari.
The chief minister also pointed out that no entity charges for the right of way in this fashion.
There is an ambitious maritime target to raise the cargo handling capacity at government run ports to 1,590 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) by 2022 from around 800 mtpa with an Investment of Rs. 1 trillion.
Of this, over Rs. 65,500 crore would be invested by private companies like Reliance, Adani Group and Essar among others.
The Rewas Port is proposed to be built by RIL's arm, Reliance Logistics, which owns 55 per cent in the venture.
Ambani's close confidant Anand Jain's Jai Corp owns 10 per cent in the venture, while Amma Lines, which diluted stake in 2006, continues to hold 24 per cent, while the remaining 11 per cent is with the Maharashtra Maritime Board.