Tax-free bonds may be Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust's (JNPT) new way to a deeper draft. The port proposes to issue tax-free bonds to finance the Rs 1,400 crore dredging work to deepen and widen the port's main channel. The government has allowed issue of Rs 5,000 crore tax-free infrastructure bonds for port development. JNPT is seeking Rs 1,000 crore for the project. The Shipping Ministry is awaiting guidelines from the Ministry of Finance for the issue of tax-free bonds. A special purpose vehicle is on the anvil.
JNPT invited fresh bids for awarding the dredging contract last week and the contractors can submit their bids before June 27. The dredging project, which is crucial to the development of the port, has been pending for the past six years. JNPT has three container handling terminals under it, one run by itself and two by private parties, and is building a fourth container terminal.
The port has decided to go for a new method of 'assured depth' contract, under which it is the contractor's responsibility to ensure the assured depth. JNPT is seeking a depth of 16 m, ideal for the largest vessels.
This is the second time JNPT is calling a tender for awarding the dredging contract. The earlier bid was called off in 2008 as the lowest bid was higher than the port's budgeted amount.