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Delay in chairmanís appointment hits JNPT decongestion, expansion plans - 2013-05-17

Delay in finalizing a new chairman to replace L Radhakrishnan may affect decision making at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and possibly lead to a delay in implementation of some major projects planned ahead.

The chairman left to return to his home cadre and will take charge as the home secretary after being at the helm at JNPT for more than three years. "The deputy chairman has been handed charge and the ministry could look at asking the chairman of another port to handle affairs till a chairman is selected. The process will take at least four to five months and that will affect the decision making process," a senior official at JNPT told ET. Another official from the shipping ministry said major projects could be delayed.

Among the projects slated soon are a Rs 9,000-crore mega container terminal project in May besides commissioning a smaller container terminal project at the JNPT. Both projects are crucial to decongest the capacity constrained port, functioning at more than 100% of its capacity. While the mega container terminal project has been delayed by more than three years, DP World is yet to sign the concession agreement for developing smaller container terminal. The signing has been delayed as the area landmarked for the project has mangrove forests and rules do not allow for its deforestation.

Radhakrishnan, seen as a proactive chairman, was instrumental in settling a long pending land allocation problem with the locals during his tenure. The new chairman at JNPT will have other headaches, chief among them is dealing with labour resentment against the corporatizing of the port.

Source: The Economic Times