Port is losing an estimated 20,000 tonnes of cargo every day

Santanu Sanyal

Difficult times

Trucks normally

carrying iron ore, chrome and coke to and from Paradip port have not been able to ply

Inhabitants of

villages around the part have taken shelter on the highway preventing movement of traffic

Kolkata, Sept. 4

The road transportation of cargoes to and from Paradip port has remained completely suspended for the past few days as a consequence of heavy rains and floods that have caused breaches on several points on the 82-km long Chandikhol-Paradip National Highway (5A), the main road connecting the port with NH 5 linking Kolkata and Chennai.

As a result, the port is losing an estimated 20,000 tonnes of traffic every day, according to port sources.

Transportation affected

Normally, Paradip port receives more than 1,800 trucks a day - 1,500 of them carrying iron ore and another 300 or so carrying chrome ore, both for exports. An additional 250-300 trucks evacuate out of the port the imported coke for use by steel plants located in the Kalinga Nagar area. All of this has come to a halt.

However, the rail movement has so far remained unaffected.

Other issues

In addition to road breaches, there is another problem which has made road transportation difficult. The inhabitants of the submerged villages have taken shelter on the highway, along with their belongings including cattle. Kendrapara, the worst-hit district, is close to the Chandikhol-Paradip highway. The Paradip Port Trust has been asked by the State Government to coordinate relief work in the Marsha Ghai area.

What is causing concern is the virtual absence of an alternative road connection to Orissa's only major port. The condition of the old 90-km long Cuttack-Paradip road is in a bad shape that the road transporters continue to avoid it, even after the suspension of traffic on the Chandikhol-Paradip highway.

The Orissa Government, it is learnt, has plans to reconstruct the Cuttack-Paradip road into a three-lane concrete highway.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 5, 2006)
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