The Phase II expansion of the Gopalpur port in Ganjam district is likely to be delayed by a year following the delay in receiving clearances from the Union MoEF.
The expansion entailing an estimated investment of Rs 950 crore, has not got the MoEF nod despite the request made to the ministry by the Orissa Government following the recommendation of the Orissa State Coastal Zone Management Authority.
The delay in the environmental clearance is attributed to the protests from the wildlife activists and environmentalists who fear that the port expansion will impact the Olive Ridley turtles which congregate every year at the Rushikulya river mouth, about 40 km from the port.
The Phase II expansion aims to raise the port’s capacity to 20 million tpa and was scheduled to be commissioned in 2011. A consortium of banks led by the State Bank of India, with others like Punjab National Bank, Bank of India, and Allahabad Bank is likely to fund the expansion.