The Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port (SMP), Kolkata (earlier Kolkata Port Trust) has taken up projects worth Rs 1,300 crore which will include boosting river cruise tourism through development of river cruise terminals and jetties and augmentation of the port’s capacity of cargo handling.
Kolkata port is also considering a “concept project” that concerns building a tunnel under the Hooghly, to connect Kolkata with Howrah so that cargo traffic can be taken off the roads. A feasibility study will be conducted soon.
Addressing a press meet, the SMP chairman, Vinit Kumar highlighted the projects, both present and upcoming, which seeks to augment this riverine port’s connectivity and cargo movement. He highlighted that river cruises were in high demand before the pandemic outbreak but remained stalled since 2020.
“The port has taken up a project worth Rs 66 crore where we would be setting up a river terminal by renovating the existing jetty and adding another pontoon at our Indenture Memorial site where the land is being developed by us. The spot will also have a cafeteria. This project will be implemented through a PPP model where government will partially fund it. The detailed project report for this has been sent to the ministry of port and shipping for approval.”
Mr Kumar elaborated that a private cruise company organise tours, mostly for foreigners, who are taken to various tourist locations such as Murshidabad, Benaras etc. The cruise tour season will be starting this October and the port hopes to complete the project by then. He added that for the local river tours, where tourists are taken around various heritage spots of the city, jetties are being developed at Outram Ghat and Takta Ghat in the city.
Additionally, he highlighted that to decongest the port, a project has been taken up at Balagarh at a cost of Rs 400 crore and for which a DPR (detailed project report) has been made. He said the project will be implemented over 300 acres of land, where two jetties will be built for handling containers and bulk cargo. This will take goods traffic off the road and instead barges can take goods via waterways directly to Balagarh for further dispatch. This will especially benefit in carrying coal from the DurgapurAsansol belt.
He highlighted that two jetties are also being constructed at Haldia and Salukhali, respectively, for the handling of liquid cargo, such as vegetable oil, at a cost of Rs 300 crore.