India—Inland Waterways A Game Changer in National Connectivity
While ports around the world had faced losses, Indian ports had shown a growth of 2.6 percent, earning profits of nearly $900 million.
So claimed India’s Minister for Road Transport Highways & Shipping Nitin Gadkari in an overview.
At present the country has twelve Major ports and there are plans to add six more.
The minister also touched upon the Sagarmala Project whose port-led economic growth intends to give a boost to the coastal economy, as it would develop manufacturing hubs as well as promote fishing. The minister said that according to experts the Sagarmala Industrial clusters will attract investment of $12 billion. Gadkari said that it is necessary to increase the draft capacity of Indian ports to enable larger ships to dock so as to increase the transportation capacity and reduce commercial cost.
Gadkari also said that at present there are only five inland waterways and his government has identified 106 more, and now these 111 waterways are being developed. He added that the waterways will prove to be a game changer as this would reduce the cost of transportation for goods and passengers, reduce road congestion as well as play a vital role in reducing pollution.
He said that his government plans to construct 2000 water ports and that to enhance the use of these inland waterways sea planes, hovercraft, and amphibious buses would be introduced.
While speaking about national highways, the minister said that the government plans to add over 60,000 miles of roads over five years.
The minister also pointed out that there was an urgent need to reduce pollution in the country. As a step in that direction he planned to scrap 15 year old trucks. As a part of this scheme it was proposed to recycle the various parts of the truck and also provide concession to mitigate the loss to owners.