More than a month before violence targeting Haldia Bulk Terminals (HBT) began, Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) chairman Manish Jain wrote to Trinamool Congress MP Suvendu Adhikary for help to solve the impending crisis.
Documents, however, suggest Adhikary, the Tamluk MP, did just the opposite, making life difficult for HBT, which pulled out of Haldia port on Wednesday citing law and order troubles.
A copy of Jain's letter to Adhikary on September 9, in possession of HT, states that disruption at HBT's berths "may, apart from causing colossal loss (financial and goodwill) to the port and the port users, also cause law and order problems inside and outside port area".
Jain had written a similar letter for help to former chief secretary Samar Ghosh on September 7. On September 12, KoPT agreed before Calcutta HC to allocate vessels to the berths operated by HBT on priority basis. On September 19, Adhikary called up Damodar Nayak, a manager at the Haldia Dock Complex, and asked him to shift a ship carrying coking coal from HBT's berth to any of the non-mechanised berths.
Nayak wrote to Jain the same day and told him Adhikary had warned he "will not tolerate" priority being accorded to HBT's berths and not "allow a single truck of cargo to move out of the port" if that were the case.
Incidentally, HBT's operations were harming the interests of a stevedoring company that operates at the port's non-mechanised berths and is closely linked to another Trinamool leader.
Jain is now blaming HBT for the crisis, citing the retrenchment of 275 employees by the company on September 23.
Adhikary did not respond to calls for comment.