Dighi becomes the first port to land in NCLT

P. Manoj |K Ram Kumar | | Updated on: Apr 18, 2018

Dighi Port Ltd, the entity that runs a private port in Maharashtra’s Raigad district, faces bankruptcy proceedings under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).

The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has ordered the start of corporate insolvency resolution process on the company based on a petition brought by DBM Geotechnics and Constructions Pvt Ltd, an operational creditor.

It marks the first instance of a port being hauled to the NCLT, which was set up to oversee the bankruptcy law aimed at fixing the country’s mounting bad bank loans.

Dighi Port, jointly promoted by Balaji Infra Projects Ltd and IL&FS Ltd, owes about ₹30 crore to DBM Geotechnics.

It had raised the funds to construct multi-purpose berths 1 and 2 at Dighi and berth No 3 at Agardanda, also in Maharashtra.

NCLT has named Purnima Dhiraj Shetty as the interim resolution professional (IRP), to manage the process.

Dighi Port, located 42 nautical miles from Mumbai Port Trust, was awarded a 50-year concession by the Maharashtra government to develop and operate a port on the banks of the Rajpuri creek in three phases.

The first phase, with a capacity to load 30 mt of cargo, has started partial operations from two multi-purpose berths that can load coal, bauxite, steel coils and containers.

Debt recast

The port owes some ₹1,600 crore to a consortium of banks led by Bank of India. In FY13, lenders had recast its debt as part of a corporate debt restructuring plan.

“The banks have not gone to the NCLT,” Vijay Kalantri, CMD of Dighi Port and Balaji Infra Projects, said in an e-mailed comment to BusinessLine .

“We are in discussions with two investors for a resolution with the banks.”

The port has 1,600 acres of land that can be scaled to 3,000 acres, according to its website. It is also a part of the Dedicated Freight Corridor and the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor.

The port, though, has been operating at low utilisation levels due to lack of rail and road connectivity combined with the general slackening of global trade.

The port promoters have been seeking strategic investors without success.

Published on April 18, 2018
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