The West Bengal government has asked the Salims of Indonesia to prepare an initial report for the deep-sea port in order to increase the feasibility of the chemical hub at Nayachar.
The logic: marketing the chemical hub to prospective investors would be difficult without an adjacent port because without it the chemical hub is a non starter.
Irked by the slow progress that the Centre had made on the proposed deep sea port, the state government wants to hand over the project to private players eager to invest in the state.
The Salims are the anchor promoters of the chemical hub. “When the Salims evinced interest in the port, we asked them to submit a proposal,” industry secretary Sabyasachi Sen said.
In a guarded statement from Djakarta, Salim associate Prasun Mukherjee said, “The deep-sea port is very important for the chemical hub, but a very expensive, long-term infrastructure investment.”
In February, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to allow the state to invite bids straightaway from prospective investors and developers and skip the process of appointing consultants.
Incidentally, other investors like the Videocon Group and Sajjan Jindal have also evinced interest in building this port.