West Bengal hands over Nayachar islands for chemical hub

February 15th, 2008 - 11:03 pm ICT by admin  

Kolkata, Feb 15 (IANS) The West Bengal government Friday handed over the Nayachar islands, an alternative site chosen for an upcoming chemical hub, to a joint venture company promoted by the state government and a consortium led by Indonesia’s Salim Group. At the state secretariat Writers Buildings Friday evening, a plot of land measuring 12,500 acres at Nayachar Island was formally handed over to the Prafulla Chandra Roy Chemical Complex (PCRCC). It is a joint venture company in which the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) has 49 percent stake and the New Kolkata International Development (NKID) has 51 percent share.

The NKID is a consortium between Unitech Ltd (40 percent), Salim Group of Indonesia (40 percent) and Universal Success of Indonesia (20 percent).

The NKID entered into a development agreement with the West Bengal government on July 31, 2006, for developing mega infrastructure in the state.

“We are giving possession of the land and they will first conduct a feasibility study,” West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya said after formally handing over the papers to Prasun Mukherjee of Universal Success.

Nayachar, a dolphin-shaped piece of land tapering at both ends, was selected by the government following a violent resistance by villagers at Nandigram in the same East Midnapore district, where the chemical hub was slated to come up earlier.

Nayachar, a deltaic estuary zone of Hooghly river, is located about 200 km from Kolkata.

The state government is keen to see Nayachar along with Haldia Petrochemicals getting the Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR) status. The state government has already filed an application with the central government for it.

A six-member expert committee, appointed by the state government to advise it on setting up of a chemical hub at Nayachar, will visit the islands Feb 25. Incidentally, this will be the first visit of the high-powered committee, headed by Subir Raha, former chairman of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), to the islands.

Earlier, an environmental group raised objections saying that under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, the entire Nayachar Island falls under the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ)-I and III area.

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