The foundation stone for the multimodal terminal at Sahibganj in Jharkhand was laid on April 6, 2017. The location of the terminal has particular significance considering the fact that the state accounts for around 40 per cent of the country’s mineral reserves. The facility is expected to help capitalise on the state’s 80 billion tonnes of coal reserves and transfer coal from its mines to thermal power plants in a cost-effective and efficient manner.
The terminal is being constructed as part of the Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP), which aims to augment the navigation capacity of National Waterway-1 on the Ganga river from Varanasi to Haldia, a distance of 1,390 km.
Sahibganj is one of three multimodal terminals to be constructed as part of the JMVP, with the other two terminals being constructed at Varanasi and Haldia. The Sahibganj terminal will be located on the right bank of the Ganga along the Rajmahal-Bhagalpur stretch and will include facilities such as berthing space for two vessels, a stockyard, a conveyor belt system with hoppers, barge loaders, shore protection works, roads, ramps, a parking area and terminal buildings. The terminal will have a cargo handling capacity of 2.24 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) upon completion in 2019. To be implemented in three phases, Phase I of the project will require an investment of Rs 4.67 billion.
Land requirement and progress
The proposal for land acquisition for the project was appraised by the state finance committee (SFC) on February 16, 2016. Following this, a “competent authority” approved the SFC’s recommendation to acquire 195 acres of land at a cost of Rs 1.87 billion, including the cost of rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) of project-affected families. The Jharkhand government has already received funds amounting to Rs 1,195.3 million from the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), towards land cost (Rs 922.1 million) and R&R cost (Rs 273.2 million). On March 9, 2017, the IWAI deposited funds worth Rs 200.6 million with the Sahibganj district administration for R&R measures related to land acquisition. Meanwhile, of the 183.13 acres required for the project, 169.625 acres of private land and 6.8 acres of government land has been transferred to the IWAI by the administration.
The proposal for the construction of Phase I of the project (excluding an external/approach road and a road overbridge [RoB]) was appraised by the SFC on June 30, 2016, following which the proposal was approved by the competent authority. The construction of the external/approach road and the RoB will be taken up separately with the respective central/state government authorities once the project receives approval from the Union cabinet.
The contract for the construction of Phase I of the terminal was signed with Larsen & Toubro on October 27, 2016, at a contract value of Rs 2,809 million. As of March 31, 2017, the topography and bathymetry survey and soil investigation works stand completed.
To conclude, the terminal will provide an alternative, economical and eco-friendly mode of transport to connect the mineral-rich state with other parts of the country. It will prove to be a growth engine for Jharkhand and will generate considerable direct and indirect employment for locals.