BHUBANESWAR: Odisha chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi on Thursday urged the Centre for infrastructural development of ports and improvement of evacuation infrastructure in Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) under its Sagarmala project to give a big push to coastal shipping in the state.
“Odisha has three major ports at Paradip, Gopalpur and Dhamra. We need good rail and road connectivity to these ports else we won't be able to meet the target of inland shipping,” Padhi said at a workshop organised in Bhubaneshwar for promoting coastal shipping and inland navigation in India.
Stating that Paradip port has incurred excellent growth last year and its coastal shipping record is also good, the chief secretary said, better infrastructure would enhance port connectivity and encourage coastal shipping of commodities to reduce overall logistic costs.
“Existing railway infrastructure for evacuation of coal from MCL also needs to be revamped to enhance transportation. The heavy-haul rail corridor from Talcher to Paradip and Dhamra ports, would also be a major breakthrough for rail-port connectivity,” Padhi said.
Sagarmala programme is a national initiative aimed at bringing about a step change in India’s logistics sector performance by unlocking the full potential of the coastline and waterways. It would also help reduce logistics costs for both domestic and export-import cargo with optimised infrastructure investment.
India lags far behind in ports and logistics infrastructure. Against a share of 9 per cent of railways and 6 per cent of roads in the GDP the share of ports is only 1 per cent. In addition, high logistics costs also make exports uncompetitive.
According to the ministry of shipping, the ports in the state have enormous growth potential given the vast
hinterlands in Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and northeastern states.
Taking ahead the 'port-led development' agenda under Sagarmala Project, the joint secretary (Sagarmala) of Union Ministry of Shipping Rabindra Kumar Agarwal said Indian Port Rail Corporation Ltd (IPRCL) is developing the rail infrastructure from Talcher to Paradip and Dhamra ports.
“This initiative will strengthen supply-side connection from mine to port and will boost coastal movement as envisioned in Sagarmala national perspective plan. The rail link will serve as the last mile connectivity to transport bulk cargo of thermal coal from the MCL,” he said.
Stressing on the growth through waterways transportation, Agarwal said while only around six percent transportation was done through waterways now, efforts were being made to double it by 2025.