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Indian Port Bill 2021 will enable optimal management of coastline: MoS

By TIOL News Service

NEW DELHI, JUNE 24, 2021: THE Union Minister of State (I/C) for Port, Shipping and Waterways Mr Mansukh Mandaviya chaired the 18th meeting of the Maritime State Development Council (MSDC) today through a video conference organized by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways.

Addressing the council, Mr Mansukh Mandaviya said that the objective of the Maritime State Development Council (MSDC) is to develop a national plan for the development of the maritime sector beneficial for both states and the centre and to adopt best practices for the sector. He further said that t he development of the country depends on the development of the states and MSDC is the best example of cooperative federalism. "In a scattered way we can't develop, united we can achieve", the Minister added.

Stressing on the need for the 'Indian Port Bill 2021', the Minister requested state governments to see the Indian Port Bill as a development issue and not as a political issue. He highlighted that the 'Indian Port Bill 2021' would facilitate to have optimum management and utilization of the coastline by way of participation by both the Union Government and Maritime States/Union Territories. He assured the states that the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways would welcome all the suggestions of the states to develop a comprehensive port bill. 

The Minister of MoPSW said, "The 18th Maritime State Development Council Meeting today has discussed very significant issues pertaining to the overall progress of the maritime sector. Both Central Government and State Governments would jointly work on the development of the maritime sector including several non-functional ports. Our growth aspiration, as visioned by our Prime Minister, need collective actions in a time-bound manner and MSDC is an active platform to discuss these matters".

The key items discussed during the meeting are Indian Port bill 2021, National Maritime Heritage Museum (NMHC), Rail and Road connectivity with Ports, Floating Jetties for Marine Operations and Sea Plane Operations, Sagarmala Projects and National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) projects.

Indian Port Bill 2021: A step towards accelerating India's Port Development

In FY 2020, the traffic handled at Indian ports is about 1.2 billion MT, which is expected to increase to 2.5 billion MT by 2030. On the other hand, only a few ports in India are having deeper draft which can handle capsize vessels. In addition, there are around 100 non-functional ports distributed across the coast of India. The ever-increasing size of ships mandates to have deeper draft ports and indeed mega ports need to be developed. Similarly, the non-functional ports also need to be prioritized and developed.

A national-level integrated approach is required to augment the existing ports or to develop new ports in an efficient and sustainable manner which in turn would reduce the freight costs to a greater extent and improve the trade growth. The national-level integrated port planning is also highlighted in various report including 'The World Bank's Port Reform book, UNCTAD's 'Handbook for Planners in Developing Countries' etc.

MSDC would advise on the planning of all ports including Major Ports. In addition, several conventions pertaining to safety, security and prevention of pollution are incorporated in IP Bill 2021 for implementation of all requirements stipulated in such conventions by all ports.

NMHC - India's first maritime heritage complex

National Maritime Heritage Complex (NMHC) is to be developed as a world-class museum dedicated to the legacy of Maritime Heritage of India, in an area of about 350 acres at Lothal, Gujarat. This maritime heritage complex would be developed as an international tourist destination with a maritime museum, lighthouse museum, maritime theme parks, amusement parks, etc.

One of the key attractions of NMHC is that it would have a pavilion for each coastal states and union territories to showcase the maritime heritage of the specific states and union territories. During the meeting, the coastal states and UTs were requested to take up the development of their respective pavilion.

Enhancing Port Connectivity

The upgradation of port connectivity is one of the critical enablers for ports, and MoPSW through its key initiative Sagarmala Programme emphasizes port connectivity. MoPSW has taken up 98 port-road connectivity projects worth Rs. 45,051 cr. with various implementation agencies like MoRTH, Major Ports, Maritime Boards, and State Road Development Companies, of which 13 projects are completed and 85 projects are in various stages of development and implementation. Similarly, 91 port-rail connectivity projects worth Rs. 75,213 Cr. have been taken up by MoPSW with Indian Railways, Major Ports, and Maritime Boards, of which 28 projects are completed and 63 projects are in various stages of development and implementation.

To address the issues in funding and for the projects that are not suitable to develop under PPP mode, it is suggested that a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) may be formed between state government, central government and private players for which interest from the state governments/UTs is requested during the meeting.

Floating Jetties for Marine Operations & Seaplane Services

Floating jetties are widely used in other countries. The floating jetties have unique advantages in comparison with the convention jetties, like cost-effectiveness, speedy construction, minimal environmental impact, flexibility to expand and relocate, suitable for the locations with high tidal variation etc.

National Technology Centre for Ports, Waterways & Coasts (NTCPWC), IIT Madras was given the mandate to prepare the Detailed Project Report for developing more than 150 floating jetties across Indian Coastline and the work is in progress. It is proposed to utilize the floating jetties majorly for fishing harbours/fish landing centers, and seaplane operations.

The MoPSW informed that the states/UTs are encouraged to explore using floating jetties/platforms for their project and requested states/UTs to identify more locations for developing floating jetties. Projects may be considered for funding from Sagarmala after the due approval of the proposal.

Strengthening Indian Infrastructure through Sagarmala Programme and National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP)

The MoPSW has various infrastructure projects that are undertaken under Sagarmala Programme and National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP).

The MoPSW proposed to develop 802 projects worth investment of Rs.5.53 lakh crore for implementation under the Sagarmala Programme. Out of which, 168 projects worth Rs. 87,000 crore have been completed and 242 projects worth Rs. 2.18 lakh crore are under implementation. Similarly, MoPSW is handling 123 projects amounting to Rs. 1.28 Lakh cr. under NIP initiated in 2020. In addition, there are 1226 projects under Sagartat Samriddhi Yojana for coast led prosperity, out of which 192 projects are under implementation.

The MoPSW requested the coastal states/UTs to expedite the implementation of the projects where the state government is the implementation agency, and funding support can be considered for central funding via grants from MoPSW or via equity funding through Sagarmala Development Company Ltd (SDCL).

Speaking on the occasion, the Minister of MoPSW emphasized the pertinent and urgent need for infrastructure development be it port augmentation, multi-model connectivity through rail/road infrastructure and various project initiatives undertaken through the Sagarmala, National Infrastructure Pipeline, and Sagartat Samriddhi Yojana.

MSDC Background : MSDC is an apex advisory body for the development of the Maritime sector and aims to ensure integrated development of Major and non-Major Ports. The MSDC was constituted in May 1997 to assess in consultation with State Governments, the future development of existing and new Minor Ports by the respective Maritime States either directly or through captive users and private participation. Further, MSDC also monitors the development of minor ports, captive ports and private ports in the Maritime States with a view to ensure their integrated development with Major Ports and to assess the requirements of other infrastructure requirements like roads/rail/IWT and make suitable recommendations to the concerned Ministers.