Even as none of the major port projects contemplated by the shipping
ministry three years ago have taken off, the prospects of a major port coming
up at Sirkali appears doomed as the state owned Neveli Lignite Corporation
(NLC) has walked out of the 4000 MW power plant near the coastal town in
central Tamil Nadu.
Sirkali has been listed by the shipping ministry as one of the six major
ports to be developed to handle the coal cargo of the thermal plant proposed to
be set up there. Now that the NLC has folded up the project in favour of a new
venture in Odisha, the major port project of the ministry will more or less be
Other port projects of the ministry at Colachel, Sagar Islands and Dahanu
in the drawing board for the past three years have not taken off. The detailed
project report for the Colachel-Enayam port is yet to be prepared though the
Cabinet has given in principle approval for the port. The local fishermen are
up in arms against the project
Colachel was conceived as a competitor to Colombo port as a transhipment
hub but India is all set to invest in Colombo port through Container
Corporation of India and hence the rationale for persisting with Colachel port
project appears dim.
While Dahanu port project is resisted by environmentalists, the Sagar
island port project has run into rough weather with the West Bengal government.
The two port projects in southern Andhra Pradesh were called off presumably due
to pressure from a private port in the vicinity.
In all likelihood the Sirkali port project has to be called off following
the NLC's decision to shift their plant to Odisha near the pitheads.
The Rs 15,000 crore Sirkali thermal power project was on the radar of NLC
for the past five years along with a port to handle coal. NLC has spent nearly
Rs fifty crores for the pre project activity.
NLC had even entered into a power purchase agreement with Tamil Nadu Power
Generation and Distribution Corporation for purchase of power from the proposed
project at Sirkali. The state electricity corporation has no proposal to set up
a plant at the site vacated by NLC.