Port of Kol plans to boost river cruising and build a tunnel under the river
Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port (SMP), Kolkata (former Kolkata Port Trust) has undertaken projects worth Rs 1300 crore which will include boosting river cruise tourism through development of river cruise terminals and jetties and increasing the cargo handling capacity of the port.
The Port of Kolkata is also considering a ‘conceptual project’ which is to build a tunnel under the Hooghly, to link Kolkata with Howrah so that cargo traffic can be taken off the roads. A feasibility study will be conducted shortly.
Addressing a press conference, SMP Chairman Vinit Kumar highlighted the projects, present and future, which aim to increase the connectivity and movement of goods of this river port. He pointed out that river cruises were in high demand before the pandemic outbreak but have stalled since 2020.
“The port has undertaken a project worth Rs 66 crore where we would install a river terminal by renovating the existing jetty and adding another pontoon at our Indenture Memorial site where we are developing the land. The spot will also have a cafeteria. This project will be implemented through a PPP model where the government will finance it in part. The detailed project report has been sent to the Ministry of Ports and Navigation for approval. »
Mr. Kumar explained that a private cruise company organizes tours, mainly for foreigners, which are taken to various tourist places such as Murshidabad, Benaras, etc. The cruise season will begin in October and the port hopes to complete the project by then. He added that for local river tours, where tourists are taken to various heritage sites in the city, piers are being developed at Outram Ghat and Takta Ghat in the city.
Further, he pointed out that to decongest the port, a project has been taken over at Balagarh at a cost of Rs 400 crore and for which a DPR (Detailed Project Report) has been completed. He said the project will be implemented on 300 acres of land, where two jetties will be constructed for handling containers and bulk cargo. This will remove cargo traffic from the road and instead barges will be able to bring cargo by inland waterway directly to Balagarh for further shipment. This will particularly benefit the transportation of coal from the DurgapurAsansol belt.
He pointed out that two jetties are also being constructed at Haldia and Salukhali respectively for handling liquid cargoes, such as vegetable oil, at a cost of Rs 300 crore.