Essar asks ICICI for Rs50cr to clear goods at Kandla

Vol 5, PW 26 (27 Feb 02) Midstream & Downstream

CONFUSION PREVAILS AT Essar over an auction last month by the Kandla Port Trust of unclaimed goods.

On 24th December the port invited tenders for an auction on 10th January. One of the items in the list of 14 was 181 tonnes of steel pipes.

Essar thought these pipes were a consignment for its beleaguered 10.5m t/y refinery at Vadinar. In a panic its chief financial officer Vimal Kejriwal wrote to ICICI asking for Rs50cr to clear the goods and other items for the refinery.

"The company does not have requisite funds to clear the goods," writes Kejriwal. Essar also wrote to Kandla Port Trust seeking time to clear its dues.

"The auction of our goods did not take place as the port authorities agreed to give us time till 31st March," Essar tells PETROWATCH. But Kandla Port tells us the auction did take place, as scheduled on 10th January of the 14 items listed! But it adds that the pipes auctioned belonged to someone else - not Essar.

"The quantity of pipes in the auction notice is the same as that belonging to Essar but the pipes we auctioned belonged to another company." Hence the confusion! Kandla Port, however, is going ahead with an auction of Essar goods in 68 containers lying unclaimed since 1999. No date has been set for this auction.

"We have begun processing papers but some administrative and legal issues have come up, which is why the exercise is getting delayed." Separately, customs at Kandla has issued a 'show cause notice' to Essar asking it to pay duty on goods imported for the refinery and which are lying at the Vadinar port and at a 'bonded' warehouse.