Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dying stages of 'MIHAN'-No cargo arriving by air, Sical-Gupta stops work on road, rail terminal-TIMES OF INDIA

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No cargo arriving by air, Sical-Gupta stops work on road, rail terminal

NAGPUR: The acronym Mihan may stand for Multimodal International Cargo Hub at Nagpur, but the project seems to be far from being one indeed. As conceived in the mid-1990s, it was planned to make a cargo hub operating with rail, road as well as air connectivity. However, work on setting up the rail and road terminal has come to a standstill.

Nagpur Sical Gupta Logistics Limited, a joint venture between, Chennai-based Sical Logistics and Gupta Group of Nagpur, which had bagged the contract to build a rail and road terminal on over 70 hectares of land in 2007 has backed out. It has been over a year that work on the site has remained stalled. The company is apprehensive whether Mihan would generate so much cargo as to make their venture feasible, since otherwise it would be a dead investment for them.

Mihan would be a multimodal cargo hub in the true sense only when connectivity by rail and road is also established. However, even the dedicated air cargo hub has been facing problems and has not started. Deccan 360, which inaugurated its services in 2009-end, never began full-fledged operations.

Nagpur Sical Gupta Logistics is now pressing for new terms and conditions which may ease the financial burden on the company. It has also suggested re-examining of the project, including the entire concept on which Mihan is based. "The company was impressed by MADC's theory of almost 100 aeroplanes overflying Nagpur airport, which would land here to redistribute cargo to different destinations. It was later realized that building a rail and road terminal can be a great risk, unless the cargo is assured. The Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC), which is developing Mihan, has remained non-committal on the issue," said an official in this company.

Originally, MADC was supposed to provide close to 28 acres land for the rail terminal but it came to light later that a part of it was disputed and could not be handed over. Instead, Nagpur Sical was asked to go ahead with the road terminal first. The work was started sometime in 2009 but stopped after a year, as there was no assurance of cargo or handing over of the land for rail terminal, said a source.

"It would have been disastrous indeed if the terminal had been ready and there was no cargo. The company has already spent around Rs 17 crore in the project but it was decided to pull out before the losses mount," said the official.

In between, Nagpur Sical had also proposed that it be allowed to start the rail terminal first. Having one would have enabled it to garner business from outside Mihan also. The region generates enough export cargo, which could have been transported to the ports through the rail terminal.

The road terminal was meant to transport cargo coming from planes landing in Nagpur, which appears to be a distant possibility under the current situation.

Officials at MADC confirmed that Nagpur Sical-Gupta Logistics had stopped work, citing lack of business as the reason. MADC has a 26% stake in the venture, with Gupta Group having chipped in with 23% and Sical having a majority 51% stake.

1 comment:

  1. There is nothing wrong at Greater Noida against Govt. Land Grab & loot program . MIHAN may see similar scenes if enough compensation is given to peoples .