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January 31, 2001
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Manpower key to operations at Kandla

A damage survey at India's busiest port of Kandla in the earthquake-hit Gujarat will be ready soon, but the key to resuming commercial operations is enough manpower, a senior port official said.

Cargo jetties developed cracks after Friday's earthquake and workers were trying to find the extent of the damage, Vipul Mittra, deputy chairman of Kandla Port Trust, said.

"We have to examine it underneath the jetty area. The survey is going on. We will have some preliminary report soon."

Kandla port has seen no commercial activity since the huge earthquake which killed at least 20,000 people. Mittra did not give a specific date when the port might restart operations but said relief work was continuing.

"Large number of our cranes, dumpers and other such equipment are engaged in relief operations...and we are working with skeletal staff," he said.

Shippers and other officials said earlier on Tuesday that commercial operations at Kandla were unlikely to resume before the middle of February because of all the damage.

An official of a leading shipping firm said no commercial activity could take place at the port for the next two weeks or so since there was no power, water and few workers.

Mittra said only 20 per cent of port workers were currently at Kandla.

He said the shipping channel of the port had escaped damage from the quake but some pipelines had been affected. "We have inspected the channel...and got a report. It is all right."

The port has also undertaken a survey of the approach channel of Kandla creek to ensure that no morphological changes had taken place on the sea bed.

Other officials have said the quake damaged at least 50 per cent of the buildings in Kandla.

Kandla has 15 jetties - seven for liquid and the rest for general cargo - and handles 17 percent of the cargo passing through India's 12 largest ports.

Mittra said the Kandla Port Trust had issued a circular declaring the port closed for operations from January 26 to February 2.

"We will review the situation on February 2," he said.

Mittra said there was no news of any vessel getting diverted.

There was no damage to two single buoy moorings (SBMs), used to discharge oil from ship, he added.

A small port, Mundra, in Gujarat restarted operations on Tuesday, an official said.

"One ship is loading minerals for exports and three to four ships are waiting at the anchorage," an official of Gujarat Adani Port Ltd (GAPL) said in Ahmedabad.

GAPL is a joint venture between trading house Adani Exports Ltd and the Gujarat state government.

The Complete Coverage | List of earthquake sites

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