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Kolkata Port to monetise 100 acres unused land to pay pension - 2012-06-18

The Kolkata Port Trust plans to monetise 100 acres of its unused land in city to partly reduce its pension liability. The KoPT will either sell or lease out land through auction in seven to eight prime locations on the Strand Road in the central business district and along the Diamond Harbour Road in south western part of Kolkata. Mr Manish Jain, Chairman in-Charge of KoPT, told Business Line: “We are awaiting the Ministry of Shipping's approval for commercial use of nearly 100 acres of unused port trust land. We have identified seven to eight locations for this.”

The KoPT has land rights to about 10,000 acres in and around the greater city area, particularly, along the river Hooghly. “By monetising these land, we expect to earn part of the money required for payment of pension,” he added.

However, he did not divulge any revenue estimates that might be generated by the use of land. A proposal was sent to the Shipping Ministry end of last year in this regard. The port trust currently has a monthly expenditure of nearly Rs 20 crore for its 33,000 pensioners and expects to meet part of its requirement through use of land. The KoPT is planning to almost double the handling capacity to 100 million tonnes by the end of 12th Five-Year Plan, Mr Jain said.

The expansion project will be done through public-private partnership route and entail a total investment of nearly Rs 15,000 crore. Of the total, the port trust is likely to invest about Rs 2,500 crore in phases. The KoPT posted nearly 29 per cent growth in net surplus (profit after tax) to Rs 90 in 2011-12, compared to Rs 70 crore last fiscal.

It reported 3 per cent rise in operating surplus to Rs 440 crore in the financial year ended march 31, 2012. According to Mr Jain, the Kolkata port's witnessed a fall in cargo handling of four million tonnes in 2011-12 against the previous fiscal, largely due to shortage of crude oil and iron ore movement.

Source : Hindu Business Line