Current Affairs

Now MPT seeks Rs 400 crore bail-out over mining stoppage in Goa

Claiming to be affected by the closure of mining operations in the state since 80 per cent of its earnings came from facilitating the export of iron-ore, the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) in a first of its kind bail-out request has approached the Centre for Rs 400 crore bail-out to stay afloat in 2013-14.

“We are discussing the proposal for financial support received from the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) to meet its operational expenditure for next year,” said a senior government official. “Most ports have been pruning expenditure and are looking for alternative cargo to make up for the iron-ore losses, while some ports have proposed special voluntary retirement schemes to cut costs,” he added.

“The situation is bad and our accumulated reserves have been almost wiped out. We can afford to pay salaries to our 2,500 employees and maintenance costs for just two more months,” MPT chairman P Mara Pandiyan, expressed adding that the port may post a Rs 130-crore loss in 2012-13.

The port needs Rs 240 crore to meet its pension and salary bill for 2013-14 and another Rs 150 crore to keep its infrastructure up and running.

Before the ban and the Justice MB Shah Commission inquiry into Goa’s illegal mining, the port had revenues of Rs 400 crore and was able to run up a reasonable surplus.

“We have curtailed expenditure and cut down advances, benefits and over-time allowances, but some costs like dredging are critical as ships can’t enter the port if we don’t remove the heavy sedimentation caused by the Goan monsoon,” Pandiyan said. The annual dredging costs at the Goa Port are around Rs 35 crore, while a Rs 18-crore project to deepen its channel is expected to conclude in four months.

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