• Short Summary

    THE PORT OF CALCUTTA IN WEST BENGAL HANDLES 50 PER CENT OF INDIA'S EXPORTS AND 30 PER CENT OF THE COUNTRY'S IMPORTS.

  • Description

    THE PORT OF CALCUTTA IN WEST BENGAL HANDLES 50 PER CENT OF INDIA'S EXPORTS AND 30 PER CENT OF THE COUNTRY'S IMPORTS. FOR YEARS THE PORT HAS BEEN THREATENED BY SILTING OF THE RIVER LEADING FROM THE BAY OF BENGAL TO CALCUTTA, BUT A MASSIVE PROJECT WHICH WILL DIVERT THE RIVER GANGES PROMISES TO GIVE A NEW LEASE OF LIFE TO THE CROWDED CITY'S HARBOUR. A HUGE CONCRETE AND STEEL SPAN, KNOWN AS THE FARAKKA BARRAGE, IS BEING BUILT 230 MILES (368 KMS) UPSTREAM FROM CALCUTTA, NEAR WHERE THE RIVER HOOGHLY JOINS THE RIVER GANGES.

    THE BARRAGE WILL TACKLE THE HOOGHLY RIVER'S SILTATION PROBLEM AT ITS SOURCE. THE BARRAGE - A SERIES OF WATER TRAPS, IN EFFECT - WILL ALLOW THE SAME AMOUNT OF WATER THROUGH, BUT VIA A MUCH NARROWER OPENING. THE WATER WILL PULSE DOWN THE HOOGHLY AT GREATLY INCREASED PRESSURE, CARRYING ANY SILT ALONG ON ITS WAY TO THE BAY OF BENGAL.

    A NEW BULK CARGO PORT IS ALSO BEING BUILT AT HALIDA, ABOUT 50 MILES (80 KMS) DOWNSTREAM FROM CALCUTTA. THE HALIDA PORT WILL RELIEVE CALCUTTA AND LEAVE IT FREE TO HANDLE VITALLY NEEDED REPAIR AND SERVICE FACILITIES.

    CALCUTTA HAS BEEN FACING THE PROBLEM OF SILTATION FOR THE PAST CENTURY, AND SOLUTIONS HAVE BEEN PUT FORWARD AT VARIOUS TIMES. RECENTLY IT WAS REALISED THAT UNLESS DRASTIC ACTION WERE TAKEN, THE PORT WOULD BE CHOKED OFF WITHIN A FEW YEARS. ALREADY SHIPS ARE FREQUENTLY HELD UP OUTSIDE THE PORT, AND SHIPPERS HAVE OFTEN BEEN FORCED TO CARRY ONLY PARTIAL CARGOES. AN AVERAGE SIZE SHIP FULLY LOADED CAN NOW ENTER THE DOCKS ONLY A FEW DAYS IN THE YEAR. DREDGERS ARE IN OPERATION IN A CONSTANT BUT LOSING BATTLE TO KEEP THE SILTATION LEVEL DOWN.

    BOTH THE HALIDA AND FARAKKA BARRAGE PROJECTS EMPLOY MASSIVE RESERVES OF HUMAN LABOUR. RELAYS OF MEN CARRYING BASKETS OF STONES WORK SIDE BY SIDE WITH MODERN CEMENT MIXING AND EARTH DRILLING MACHINERY.

    THE FARAKKA BARRAGE PROJECT IS ALREADY TWO YEARS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE, AND PROJECT OFFICIALS SAY THEY HOPE TO SEE IT COMPLETED EARLY NEXT YEAR. ANCILLARY INSTALLATIONS SHOULD TAKE ABOUT ANOTHER YEAR TO COMPLETE, AND CALCUTTA SHOULD BE REAPING THE BENEFITS OF THE OPERATION BY 1971.

    WORK ON THE BARRAGE HAS ALREADY BEEN THE SUBJECT OF A DISPUTE BETWEEN THE INDIAN AND PAKISTANI GOVERNMENTS. PAKISTAN CLAIMS THE BARRAGE WILL DIVERT WATER FROM THE GANGES THAT WOULD NORMALLY IRRIGATE AREAS OF EAST PAKISTAN. INDIA CLAIMS THAT EAST PAKISTAN WILL STILL BE FULLY IRRIGATED, AND THAT THE BARRAGE WILL NOT HAVE ANY DAMAGING EFFECTS ON CROPS IN THE AREA. THE TWO GOVERNMENTS WILL MEET IN ISLAMABAD THIS MONTH TO DISCUSS A SETTLEMENT.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA1FAA7OSKI0Y95TPX1LNAR1TQU
    Media URN:
    VLVA1FAA7OSKI0Y95TPX1LNAR1TQU
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    03/03/1969
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:06:27:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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