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Ports conferred with key infrastructure status for dredging projects

Mar '07
Finance Minister P Chidambaran has brought ports under the ambit of key infrastructure status for dredging projects in Union Budget 2007-08.

The key infrastructure status for ports will facilitate inclusion of a navigational channel in sea within its ambit for purpose of ten year-tax benefit under Section 80 Income-Tax (IA) in view of long gestation period for dredging projects.

Section 80-IA provides for a ten-year tax benefit to an enterprise engaged in development, operation and maintenance of infrastructure facilities.

R Ravikumar, Chief Manager (Administration), Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), said: "This is a welcome step for the port sector. Deepening the navigation channel in the sea is a capital intensive project. For instance, JN Port's dredging port is costing around Rs 800 crore in the first phase alone."

The finance minister has also proposed complete exemption of dredgers from import duty.

The infrastructure status accorded to navigation channels in sea, under Sec 80 I-A, will enable dredging companies to gain tax exemptions.

This will help towards enhancing port capacities and lead to developing channels or port facilities for large ships to come in. Consequently, larger movements of cargo and economies of freight should be derived," A R Ramakrishnan, CEO, Essar Shipping, said.

Indian National Shipowners' Association (INSA) Secretary General S S Kulkarni said dredging initiatives may boostshipping.

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