The Centre plans to increase the share of inland waterways in goods and passenger traffic from a meagre 3.5 per cent to 15 per cent by the end of its five years’ term, Union Shipping and Transport Minister, Mr Nitin Gadkari said at an ASSOCHAM event held in Mumbai .
“The coastal shipping system has to be made development oriented, besides we need to implement fast-track decision making which will come about only when people change their mindset,” said Mr Gadkari while inaugurating a conference on ‘Coastal Shipping and Inland Waterways,’ organised by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).
Talking about port development, Mr Gadkari said, “For port development we have taken prime decision of starting three major ports with approximate investments worth Rs 18,000 crore to Rs 20,000 crore – Wadhwan port in Dahanu with 18 meter draft to be developed along with Maharashtra government, Colachel port in Kerala and third one Sagar port.”
For this, he said government will come out with tenders before March this year and will start work on breakwater by April-May.
He also said that government was studying about all the improvements that can be made to promote modernisation, mechanisation and computerisation in the coastal shipping system.
“We had hired a private consultant to study our 12 major ports and three main organisations, namely Shipping Corporation, Dredging Corporation and Cochin Shipyard, they have given us the report with 120 suggestions, of which we have implemented about 18-20 of those and they are reviewed every month,” informed the minister.
“Its positive impact can also be gauged from the fact that this is the first year in India’s history where all our 12 major ports and three organisations have recorded profits which will be more than Rs 6,000 crore,” he added.
“I personally believe that administrative and bureaucratic reforms are not the responsibility of the bureaucracy but that of the political system,” further said Mr Gadkari.
He also emphasised upon the need to spread awareness about reducing the logistics cost which is getting added by 30 per cent to any product being exported from India thereby making our products uncompetitive in world markets.
“The government is working on priority basis to bring down logistics cost and increase exports,” said Mr Gadkari.
The minister also said that the government is working towards improving the entire system related to inland waterways and coastal shipping thereby making it transparent.
“Industry should think positively and move ahead from past experience, I assure you that in next five years our government will implement all the projects in this sector in a positive, development oriented, time-bound and corruption-free manner,” said Mr Gadkari.
“There is also the need to increase confidence level between industry and the government,” he added.