Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) has yet again extended the deadline for global bids to develop a Greenfield port project at Nargol in Valsad district for another couple of months.
This is for the third time, GMB, the state’s maritime regulator, has extended deadlines for the global bid. Last time, it was extended from October 21 to December 21. Now again, it has been extended till the third week of February 2022, said a senior official of GMB, citing the reason that the decision has been taken to extend the bid deadline following requests from multiple bidders.
Confirming the extension of deadline, one of the bidders for the Rs 3800 crore Greenfield project said that bidders for the project have requested GMB authorities to extend the deadline as they want some more time to survey the actual site to consider financial viability before submitting their proposal.
Some of the top Indian and foreign companies in the port sector are in fray to develop Nargol Port situated in Umbergaon taluka of south Gujarat. Companies including Adani Group, Essar Group, JM Baxi Group, the Dubai based logistic firm DP World and others are in the fray. The proposed Nargol port is located nearly 140 km north of Mumbai and approximately 120 km from South of Surat. The Gujarat government plans to develop a multi-purpose port which can handle solid, liquid and container cargo simultaneously.
It is worth mentioning that, originally Gujarat government planned to develop Nargol Port in 1999. However, for some or other reason nothing happened on ground zero. In the year, the state government granted a letter of intent (LOI) to a consortium of Cargo Motors and Amaryllis Limited for the Greenfield project. With the consortium missing several project execution deadlines, the previous Vijay Rupani-led government decided to cancel the earlier bids and invited fresh global bids for the project.
With a view to lure more numbers of bidders from across the globe, for the first time GMB offered a discount of 20% on waterfront charges. Moreover, the concession period under the state’s Build Operate Own and Transfer (BOOT) policy for ports has been extended from 30 years to 50 years.
Meanwhile, voices have also been raised against the ambitious project by a section of the localities. Umargam Taluka Kinara Bachao Samiti (UTKBS), a platform to oppose the proposed port by the local residents of the area is advocating the state government to develop picturesque Nargol beach as a tourist destination instead of a Greenfield port. Even the Nargol village panchayat too passed a resolution against the project in its Gram Sabha.
“Nearly 30,000 people are getting employment in fishing activities in and around Nargol area and their annual turnover is over `450 crore. If the project would come up at Nargol, the entire ecosystem would get disturbed due to pollution which would impact fishing activities adversely. The port would generate hardly hundreds of new jobs, but at the same time thousands of fishermen will lose their livelihood,” claimed UTKBS in its memorandum submitted before the Gujarat government.