Ensure conducive climate to attract investment: Deora to Mamta



Mumbai: Terming the flight of investors from West Bengal as a "law and order problem", Minister of State for Shipping Milind Deora on Thursday asked state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to ensure a conducive climate to attract investments into the state.

"I think it (Haldia Bulk Terminals quitting the port) hinges on the fact that the government is not providing adequate security to the industry. They should keep law and order under control if they want to have a vibrant and robust port sector and attract investors rather than having them go away," Deora told reporters after holding a meeting with the management of the Mumbai Port Trust here.

Deora's remarks come following the cargo handling company Haldia Bulk Terminals, jointly promoted by ABG Infralogistics and French logistics company Louis Dreyfus Armatuers deciding to exit Haldia Port, citing 'poor law and order situation' and 'unsafe working conditions'.

Stating that the Mamata government should allow the investments, Deora, who took over the charge of the shipping portfolio yesterday, said, "what I understand in terms of what we are seeing is the departure of investors. The government needs to create a conducive climate."

"We are seeing how the crisis in Haldia could affect the country's port capabilities, its trading capabilities and even its maritime security," he added.

Deora, who is also the MoS for IT & telecom portfolios, said as the shipping minister his focus would be to scale up the port capacities which are at present running almost to the threshold.

"My main job is to ensure a higher port capacity in the country. We have a scenario where we are functioning just about close to capacity, so there is a need to increase it across the ports," he said.

He also said there is no reason why the country cannot become a hub for ship-building or why our shipyards cannot get more business.

The government is planning to award 42 projects this fiscal including two new major ports. The total capacity addition would be 245 mt involving 42 projects at an investment of about Rs 14,000 crore.

The proposed ports are slated to come up at Sagar Island in Bengal and Ramyapatnam in Andhra.

The existing 12 major ports are Jawaharlal Nehru Port, Kandla, Mumbai, Marmagao, New Mangalore, Kochi, Tuticorin, Chennai, Ennore, Vishakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata-Haldia.

PTI