The West Bengal government is still reluctant to officially announce that Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) has emerged as the highest bidder for constructing a deep sea port at Tajpur. APSEZ submitted price bid was a tad higher than JSW Infrastructure, the only other bidder and the tender document entailed a moratorium of 15 years.
APSEZ has offered to share 0.25% of the royalty rate for per metric tonne of cargo handled and the government felt that the price bid has to be evaluated before the final disclosure of the highest bidder could be made. The price bid of JSW was 0.23% of the royalty for per metric tonne of handling, a West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) official said after opening the price bid in presence of Adani Ports and JSW Infrastructure officials, though he said the confirmation would come from the government.
The state has agreed on concession period of 99 years, transfer of 126 acres of land on lease for developing the port at an initial investment of Rs 7,000 crore as well as transfer 1,000 acres on lease to the APSEZ for developing a estate surrounding the port.
The price bid was opened on Wednesday and was scheduled for a state cabinet clearance. But the tender document, the state government floated, has come as a hindrance since it has a clause barring developers, which has been disqualified for breach of contract in port handling, including offshore and on shore.
APSEZ has made premature termination of a 30-year contract for coal handling at a berth of the Visakhapatnam port and a few such terminations have been made at the country’s other government ports, which has attracted a number of court cases. West Bengal fears of attracting court cases in the case of announcing the highest bidder and therefore might hold back the award or terminate the present tender for a new expression of interest to be floated, a senior government official told FE.
While APSEZ has not yet informed the exchanges about bagging the Tajpur deep sea port contract, mails to it asking for confirmation went unanswered.
West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation
(WBIDC) floated an RFQ during October last year and a number of port developers including the Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port (SMP), erstwhile Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) and DP World, participated in the first pre bid meeting, Rajiva Sinha, chairman, WBIDC, earlier told reporters. But everyone except Adani and JSW pulled out of the fray and finally two bidders participated in it.
Last month APSEZ bagged an SMP order of developing a Rs 299-crore berth at the Haldia Dock Complex for a concession period of 30 years to handle approximately 3.75 million tonne of dry bulk cargo. But that has also come under question, owing to the handling contracts APSEZ has terminated in other ports prematurely.