Ahmedabad: The Gujarat government on Monday canceled all permissions granted to the bankrupt Sterling group promoted by the absconding Sandesara brothers to develop an all-weather port in Dahej.The absconding promoters of the Sterling group– Nitin and Chetan Sandesara–are alleged to have defrauded over Rs 14,500 crore of public money. Two of their flagships–Sterling Biotech and Sterling SEZ are in bankruptcy tribunals now. Both the bothers are absconding since their names came up in the bank loan scam and money laundering activities and federal agencies began probing them. “Chief minister Vijay Rupani today decided to cancel all the permissions given for building an all-weather berthing port at Dahej to Sterling Ports of Nitin Sandesara,” the chief minister’s office said in a statement Monday. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity!”Rupani has also directed the Gujarat Maritime Board to recover the amount that the company had to pay as bank guarantees and also to take re-possession of the 84.95 hectares given to the company for developing the port,” the statement added. The Gujarat Maritime Board and a consortium led by Sterling Biotech had entered into an agreement to develop the Dahej port as an all-weather direct berthing port in 2009. Following this, the board had handed over 84.95 hectares to the group in 2010. Also Read – Encounter under way in Pulwama, militant killedThe Sterling consortium had formed a new company– Sterling Port-to develop the port and had also signed a concession agreement in 2014 with the board. As per the agreement, the company was to invest Rs 2,500 crore in the first phase and had to deposit 1.5 percent of the equity along with another Rs 5 crore as performance guarantee with the maritime board. But the company is yet to start any work on the port, government officials said, adding it even failed to deposit Rs 37.50 crore which it had to pay as bank guarantee to the government. Earlier in the day, the board of directors of the maritime board met and recommended to cancel the contract, they said.
“It has been, for me, really very encouraging to see the shared commitment to going together – every country – to Durban to complete the work and to have a real breakthrough against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance,” Mary Robinson, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told reporters on the final day of the current session of the Preparatory Committee for the forum, which will open in Durban, South Africa, on 31 August. The High Commissioner said her positive assessment was shared by officials from various countries attending the preparatory session. “A number of delegates have been saying to me over the past few days that the spirit has changed and the whole atmosphere is so much more positive,” she observed. “The feeling is there has been considerable progress in regard to language on the identification and description of victims, and also language on how we address the past,” she said, recalling that how to deal with past injustice had been a difficult issue at the outset. “There is a genuine feeling that this is going to be one of the real breakthroughs in Durban.” Concerning ongoing discussions on how to address the situation on the Middle East, she said the focus was now “on whether it is possible to find appropriate language.” Previously, there had been “great resistance” from certain quarters to any text on the subject. With sensitive negotiations still going on, Mrs. Robinson refrained from commenting in detail on the issue. “It may be that if appropriate text can be found, this problem can be surmounted, but it is at a very delicate stage in many ways and I really don’t want to say any more,” she said.Asked about the role of the United States in the preparatory process, Mrs. Robinson said she appreciated Washington’s active engagement, which had led to “very important progress” on certain issues. She added that the World Conference was of great importance to the United States. “I know from my two meetings on it with Secretary of State Colin Powell that he personally believes that it is very important, and that he personally dearly wishes to go to Durban.” Later, in closing remarks to the preparatory meeting, Mrs. Robinson likened the present situation to that of a marathon runner who knows that the worst is over and the finish line is in sight. “We have come a long way, especially over the last two weeks,” she said. “At the same time, we are conscious that an extra strong effort will be needed to finish the course.”