Bhubaneswar, Mar 31 (PTI) The Odisha government today said the construction work of the Subarnarekha Port off the coast in Balasore district would commence soon as major hurdles were removed.

Odisha’s Commerce and Transport Minister Nrushingha Sahu while replying a written question by BJD member Aswani Kumar Patra said this in the Assembly.

“The developer of the port – Subarnarekha Port Private Limited (SPPL) has so far obtained environmental clearance from the ministry. The state government, meanwhile, has transfered 692.68 acre of land to the port developers,” Sahu said in the Assembly.

The Defence Ministry, which had earlier raised certain objections, has also given its nod for development of a port at the chosen site, he said.

The Subarnarekha river mouth is envisaged to be developed as a commercial port on the build, own, operate, share and transfer (BOOST) model.

The MoU for the port project was signed way back in 2006.

The minister said though 961.18 acre land is required for the port project at Subarnarekha, the state has leased 692.68 acre to the developers.

Apart from this, about 128.80 government land are under encroachment.

The district collector of Balasore has been asked to retrieve such encroached land, Sahu said.

However, the remaining 139.70 acre land located close to the project site has been identified as ‘Bhudan’ (donated) land.

“Arrangements are being made to exchange land with ‘Bhudan Yagna Samiti’ so that 139.70 acre land could be utilised for the purpose of construction of the port,” the minister said.

Meanwhile, Tata Steel has already inked a definitive agreement with Chennai-based Creative Port Development Private Limited (CPDPL) to pick up 51 per cent equity in the port project from the original promoters.

CPDPL, promoted by two technical entrepreneurs, Ramani Ramaswamy and Ramaswamy Rangarajan, had entered into a concession agreement with the Odisha government in January 2008 to develop the Subarnarekha Port in Balasore district as an all-weather deep-draft facility.

As per the original concession agreement, the port would have an initial capacity of 10 million tonne per annum (mtpa) which was to be scaled up to 40 mtpa in 10 years.

Odisha presently has a major port at Paradip and two other ports at Dhamra and Gopalpur.

At least 12 non-major ports, including the one at Subarnarekha, are in the pipeline, the minister said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.