NEW DELHI: The Shipping Ministry has sought infrastructure status for the shipbuilding industry so as to provide impetus boost to the sector, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said today.
The ministry also plans to start work on about Rs 2,400 crore projects for last mile connectivity to all 12 major ports, said Gadkari, who is the minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping.
"To promote domestic shipbuilding, I have urged Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to give infrastructure status to shipbuilding," he said.
Gadkari added that "work on 40 projects that include last mile connectivity projects and internal port rail projects will begin this year".
The 12 major ports in the country have nearly 612 km of internal rail network.
The minister also said that though the major ports and Indian Railways have taken up many connectivity projects, there is an urgent need for focused attention and substantial allocation of resources.
"The government is also keen on increasing the percentage of cargo being evacuated through rail from major ports which stands at 28 per cent now," he said, adding that the Shipping Ministry will procure rakes and wagons on its own as Railways faced shortages of these.
The absence of rakes at times lead to delays of even a fortnight in evacuation of cargo from Paradip port, he said.
Cabinet nod yesterday for forming a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to focus on providing efficient systems in major ports will go a long way in augmenting port infrastructure, said the minister.
The government yesterday said the SPV would be registered as a company under the Companies Act with an initial authorised capital of Rs 500 crore.
"The SPV would be funded by all the 12 Major Ports and the Rail Vikas Nigam (RVNL). Major Ports would contribute 90 per cent of the equity with RVNL contributing the rest," it had said.
The work of the SPV is expected to result in substantial reduction in dwell time of cargo at Ports and bring down the overall logistic cost for trade, it added.
The SPV would work in close co-ordination with the Indian Railways and leverage the existing participative model of the Indian Railways for enhancing last mile connectivity to Ports.
The SPV would be headquartered in Mumbai with a registered office in New Delhi.