The first phase of the proposed minor deep sea port in Tajpur-Shankarpur in East Midnapore will become operational in three to threeand-a-half years,said industry minister Amit Mitra at Nabanna on Wednesday.

The Cabinet sub-committee on industry, infrastructure and employment on Wednesday approved the proposal for setting up the port. The total project cost of Tajpur-Shankarpur port will be around Rs 5,000 crore. The state government will spend Rs 160 crore for creating necessary infrastructure for the first phase of the project.

The cost is much lower compared to Bhor Sagar port in South 24- Parganas that will have an expenditure of Rs 4,000 to 5,000 crore.

The project will be much more profitable, said Mitra. A Group of Secretaries (GoS) headed by state chief secretary Basudeb Banerjee will be set up to study the feasibility report that has been prepared by CRISIL and a report will be submitted to chief minister Mamata Banerjee within 15 days.

Following that, the state government will issue Request For Proposal (RFP) to invite bids for setting up the port. “The port will be built on reclaimed land so there is no need for making any acquisition.

It won’t affect tourism as the area has a guard wall along the coast. An 18-km long sea channel will be built for the entry of ships to the port,” Mitra said.

A total of 15 berths will be created of which six will be created in the first phase itself. The port will have a 15 metre draft.

According to Mitra, the facilities that the port will offer will be at par with those of Paradip Port in Odisha. The Tajpur Shankarpur port will located 8 km away from the state highway and the nearest railway station, Contai will be 23 km away.

So there would not be much difficulty in setting up the necessary infrastructure facilities. Citing instance of the difficulty faced in developing Bhor Sagar port, Mitra said there is a requirement for constructing a bridge for setting up the port. But, there is no such infrastructure requirement for Tajpur-Shankarpur port.

The state government is coming up with four ports, namely Bhor Sagar port, where the state will have 26 per cent stake, Tajpur Shankarpur port, Shipbuilding and port in Tajpur and minor port in Kulpi. “The new ports will provide a huge scope for employment.

In comparison to what is being done now, almost nothing had been done during the Left Front’s regime,” Mitra added.