MUMBAI : JSW Jaigarh Port, a SPV of JSW Infrastructure, achieved an important milestone on December 1 when it signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd (KRCL) and Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) for developing the 33.7-km Jaigarh-Digni rail link through the PPP model at a total cost of Rs 775 crore. This followed the Maharashtra Chief Minister, Mr Devendra Fadnavis, giving his nod for the agreement. The MoU was inked and the documents exchanged by Capt. B. V. J. K. Sharma, JMD & CEO - JSW Infrastructure Ltd, Mr Paraag Jaiin-Nainuttia, IAS, Chief Executive Officer - MMB and Mr Dinesh Kumar, GM (Infra) - KRCL, in the presence of the Chief Minister, Mr Sajjan Jindal, Chairman and Managing Director of JSW Group, Mr Bhanu Prakash Tayal, Managing Director - KRCL, and other dignitaries. This is the first project under the policy on participative models for rail connectivity and capacity augmentation projects released by the Railway Ministry in 2012. The rail link would not only boost industrial growth in the hinterlands but also play a major role in retaining the cargo base of Maharashtra state.
Sanctioned by the Railway Ministry, the traffic and bankability study has already been carried out for the project. It has a 30-month timeline with a revenue projection of Rs 114 crore for the first year. The traffic study for the project was carried out by PricewaterhouseCooper. JSW Jaigarh Port is the first deep-water, all-weather, 24x7 private port in Maharashtra. Situated between Mumbai and Goa, in Ratnagiri district, the port is fully operational at present, with two berths having cargo handling capacity of 15 million tonnes per annum (mtpa). Since its inception in 2009, with an initial investment of Rs 850 crore, the port has handled about 25 million tonnes of cargo. In its Phase II expansion which is underway, the capacity is being augmented to 65 mtpa by creating facilities for handling containers, RoRo vessels, LNG, POL, bulk and break-bulk cargo.
The port is currently connected to the National Highway 17 through the existing State Highway 106. \"For all projects above Rs 1,000 crore, there will be a fast-track special committee set up to regularly monitor them,\" stressed Mr Fadnavis on the occasion. \"We cannot operate the entire capacity as the connectivity needed is not in place. So, at present, only about 8 million tonnes capacity utilisation is happening,\" Mr Sajjan Jindal said on the sidelines of the event. Once the connectivity is in place, the port capacity utilisation will also go up,\" he added. Mr Jindal suggested that if other ports in the state are also connected better, it would help improve infrastructure, generate employment and also contribute significantly in increasing Maharashtras gross domestic product.