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Adani Group takes over port near Chennai

Oct 04 2015 : The Times of India (Chennai)
Adani Group takes over port near Chennai
Adani Ports and Larsen & Toubro (L&T) on Saturday inked a pact to oversee operations of Kattupalli Port, 30km north of Chennai port.

“Adani Ports has entered into a non-binding MoU with L&T Shipbuilding (L&T) for evaluating the operations of the port at Kattupalli, with effect from October 2015 for one month,“ Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) said in a filing to BSE.

It added that definitive agreements would be entered into later. “Adani shall be responsible for EBIDTA gains and losses arising from the port operation for this period,“ the filing said.

L&T, in a separate filing, said the shipyard would continue to be managed and operated by L&T Shipbuilding. The development comes amid reports that the Gautam Adani-led Adani group would take over the operational and management control of L&T Kattupalli International Container Terminal, to strengthen its presence on the east coast.

The development evoked a reaction from DMK chief M Karunanidhi, who criticised the AIADMK regime for shelving the Port-Maduravoyal elevated road project and wondered if the move was to facilitate the Adani business after it takes over the Kattupalli Port, besides the privately-owned Krishnapatnam Port, 180km north of Chennai.

Karunanidhi alleged that by stalling the expressway project, business would be diverted to these two ports, thus benefitting the Adani group. Halting the elevated expressway project would result in losses for the Chennai Port and gives rise to suspicion if it was being stymied to help the Adani group, Karunanidhi said in a statement on Saturday . The 19km-long elevated expressway project, initiated by the previous DMK regime, to link the Chennai Port with Maduravoyal, along river Cooum, was suspended, after the AIADMK government took charge in May 2011.

Kattupalli shipyard-cum-captive port complex in the city was promoted by L&T Shipbuilding Limited, in which it held 97% share, and the rest by state's Tamil Nadu industrial development corporation (TIDCO). “The intrigue involved in bringing down public sector units to aid a few individuals will come to light in a few days,“ the DMK leader said. He alleged the declining business in Chennai Port, which is the second largest port in the country , was due to traffic chaos.“It takes several days for the cargo to reach Chennai Port. In fact, DMK government launched the elevated corridor project to set right this problem,“ he said, pointing to diversion of business to Krishnapatnam and Ennore ports. Chennai Port handled 61.4 million tonnes of cargo in the year 2010-11 that saw a decline in the subsequent years.

The 19km long elevated corridor has been caught in a legal wrangle ever since the project was stalled by the state. The `1,815 crore project with a grant of `499 crore from the Centre, came to a standstill in 2012, but not after constructing 683 piles, 56 pile caps and 15 pillars. Between Koyambedu and Maduravoyal alone, 617 piles and 120 pillars were built on the national highway and the rest along the river Cooum. While the Madras HC gave a go-ahead to national highways authority of India, the TN government moved the SC with an appeal.


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