MUMBAI: With India's unmatched potential on sea and river front, the government is determined to give a big push to 'blue revolution' which has potential to create over 20 million jobs, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari today said.
"India is on the brink of a 'blue revolution'. Its unmatched sea and river front remained untapped ever since Independence. Now the time is ripe to exploit it and with the Narendra Modi government committed to develop it, we are going to do things that will be beyond imagination," Gadkari told PTI in an interview.
Enthused with the success of the maiden Maritime Summit with commitments worth USD 12 billion on the spot and another USD 60 billion in the pipeline, the minister said apart from the potential of 10 million jobs under Sagarmala, more than 10 million could be easily created in shipping, highways and other sectors.
"Creating jobs is our focus and immense employment opportunities are there in ports, roads and sectors like shipping. What I believe is that apart from 10 million potential jobs under Sagarmala, shipping, port, manufacturing are going to create another over 10 million jobs," said the Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Minister.
He said his government's faith to usher in revolutionary changes in the sector multiplied manifold after signing of business agreements worth over USD 12 billion in only two days during the Maritime Summit here on April 14 and 15.
"As many as 240 projects worth USD 60 billion are in the pipeline to be formalised soon," the minister said adding, all great civilisations of the world prospered around rivers and sea and at present also waterways play a crucial role in all the leading economies.
"India has unmatched over 7,500 km coastline and over 14,000 km of inland waterways. We are working towards leveraging the huge potential offered by our sea and river fronts," he said.
Waterways will not only become a dominant way of transport but is bound to bring down the high logistics costs, he said and added that plans were on the anvil to not only internally harness the potential but pacts are being signed with neighbouring nations like Bangladesh to tap this mode.
"We are going to set up eight new major ports in the country and are going to spend Rs 50,000 crore on three new ports only that include a greenfield port at Vadhavan,
Maharashtra and phase one of it would be constructed at a cost of about Rs 9,167 crore," he said.
The other two are Colachel in Tamil Nadu and Sagar in West Bengal, he said.
"Investors are welcome to come and join hands with us and we in turn would provide them level playing fields and sops," Gadkari said.