BHUBANESWAR: THE State Government on Thursday urged the Centre for infrastructural development of ports and improvement of evacuation infrastructure of Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) under its most ambitious Sagarmala project to give a big push to coastal shipping in the State.
Speaking at a national-level workshop on ‘Promotion of coastal shipping and inland navigation in India’ organised by the Shipping Ministry here, Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi said, “Odisha has three major ports at Paradip, Gopalpur and Dhamra. We need good rail and road connectivity for these ports. Unless it is done, we may not be able to meet the target of inland shipping.”
Stating that Paradip port has incurred excellent growth last year and its coastal shipping record is also good, Padhi 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 the efficiency of transportation. The heavy haul rail corridor from Talcher to Paradip and Dhamra ports would also be a major breakthrough for rail-port connectivity,” he said.
Sagarmala 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. In order to promote inland navigation, 111 inland waterways across 24 States have been declared National Waterways (NWs). The 623-km National Waterway-5 covers Odisha (532 km) and a part of West Bengal (91 km).
According to the Ministry, the ports in Odisha have enormous growth potential given the vast hinterlands in the State, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and north-eastern States.
Taking ahead the ‘port-led development’ agenda under Sagarmala Project, Joint Secretary (Sagarmala), Union Ministry of Shipping Rabindra Kumar Agarwal said, Indian Port Rail Corporation Ltd is developing the rail infrastructure from Talcher to Paradip and Dhamra ports with the support of Odisha Government.
“This initiative will strengthen supply-side connects from mine to port and boost coastal movement. The rail link will serve better connectivity to transport bulk cargo of thermal coal from MCL to power plants in Southern and Western states through Paradip and Dhamra ports,” he said.
Stressing on the growth through waterways transportation, Agarwal said while only around six per cent transportation is done through waterways now, efforts are being made to double it by 2025.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman, Paradip Port, Rinkesh Roy gave a detailed presentation on growth and capacity augmentation of the all-weather port.