Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port Authority, the State-owned entity that runs the Kolkata and Haldia Docks in West Bengal, is in a “wait and watch” mode ahead of signing a concession agreement with Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ) to mechanise and run a dry bulk cargo handling berth for 30 years, more than six months after the firm was awarded the project.
After the port authority issued a letter of award for the project to APSEZ on 10 February, India’s biggest private port operator has been hit by multiple disqualifications from tenders issued by other State-owned port authorities citing the termination of a contract involving the firm at Visakhapatnam Port, that makes it ineligible to participate.
Typically, major ports or those owned by the Union government such as the Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port Authority are required to sign the concession agreement for a cargo handling project with the successful bidder within 30 days of issue of letter of award.
APSEZ’s disqualification from port tenders issued by other major ports has put Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port Authority in a bind.
“The port authority is looking at all the Court cases, what have the Courts ordered and what decisions were taken by the other ports. All these will be taken into consideration before taking a final call,” the official said, noting that the port authority will seek legal advice on the matter.