A prominent shipping industry player has sought a new container terminal on the Howrah side that will not only decongest Kolkata but also help lower its rising pollution levels.
“There is a need for a container terminal on the west of city (Howrah) side which could avoid trucks coming to Kolkata,” Tirupati Vessels director Rajiv Agarwal said.
Tirupati Vessels has recently started RoRo (Roll-on/roll-off) service in the city.
However, Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) has dismissed the need at this hour.
KoPT chairman Vinit Kumar told PTI that RoRo service addresses the issue and had been commenced to transfer the trucks to Howrah bypassing Kolkata roads and bridges for their onward journey.
India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry president A M Ahmad said funding for the project will not be a problem from the private sector and even Bangladeshi investors who are keen on developing it if the government decides.
Pollution in Kolkata has been rising alarmingly and the principal bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had slapped a Rs 5 crore penalty on the state for its failure to control air quality in the city.
State environment and transport minister had said commercial vehicles beyond 15 years coming from districts and other states were a cause of concern as they were contributing heavily to the high pollution.
The KoPT chairman said that inland waterways trade with Bangladesh is not doing justice to its potential due to lack of inward cargo from Bangladesh which makes freight costlier.
“Talks have been held at government level for export cargo of Bangladesh be allowed on Indian vessels from Dhaka’s Panagon river port,” he said.
Successful trail of coastal vessel to Pangaon was first held in February 2017.