The Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) on Friday withdrew its application against Haldia Bulk Terminals (HBT) from the Calcutta High Court.

There was high drama at the Calcutta High Court premises on Friday morning after a senior counsel representing the Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) withdrew the port’s application for enforcing a deadline on Haldia Bulk Terminals to resume operations. Based on the KoPT counsel’s move, the court ordered the prayer — filed on October 26 — to be dismissed as withdrawn.

Outside the court room, however, another KoPT counsel referred to the move as a “misunderstanding”. In a release issued late in the evening, KoPT denied having instructed its counsel to withdraw the application. “As such, KoPT has affirmed an application today itself for recalling the order passed by the Honourable Court today, making a further prayer for disposal of its application on merit.”

A joint venture between Mumbai-based ABG Ports and French logistics company Louis Dreyfus Armateurs (LDA), HBT was appointed by KoPT in 2010 to handle dry bulk cargo in two mechanised berths of the dock complex.

Operations, however, have come to a grinding halt since September 25. After a month long impasse — studded with alleged attacks on its employees, both inside and outside the dock complex — HBT finally announced a walk-out from Haldia on October 31, citing law and order issues.

The events at the High Court unfolded this morning after Biswarup Gupta, senior counsel appearing on behalf of KoPT, claimed that the port’s petition had become “infructuous” since HBT had already expressed its decision to walk out. KoPT’s claims were not opposed by the HBT counsel.

(This article was published on November 2, 2012)
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