Shipping minister Gadkari honours 40 top port users, announces bonanza of development projects for Kandla, Gujarat
Though May 31 visit of Union Shipping minister Nitin Gadkari to Kandla was belated one-originally he was to come in November last, but had to postpone it because of sudden announcement of panchayati raj and civic elections in Gujarat following court order- it proved to be a bonanza both for Gujarat in general and Kandla in particular.
For, now the highly knowledgeable minister in maritime matters , who had personally come to Kandla to praise KPT management and port users for their this year’s feat of turning Kandla India’s first 100 MMT major port was so much impressed with Kandla’s achievement that he reeled out developmental projects for Kandla; in doing so even his audience found him unstoppable.
‘You have shown 20 per cent improvement in the efficiency of your port. Your profit has grown to Rs.290 crores this year from Rs 145 crores last year. You have handled 100 MMT cargo this year.I am happy at your performance and want to reward you for this and hereby announce that all the port employees and workers would get 100 gram silver coin as memento from the port.’ In the beginning of his inspiring speech while addressing the port users who had contributed their mites to the 100 MMT handling of the port, he said “Jo achha karte hain unto recognition milni chahiye”(those who do good work should get recognition) he said in his Hindi speech.
Stating that Kandla would have super development plan to emerge as a world class port, Gadkari said that it would be a hub and a cluster of many items of export and imports. Since Kandla is biggest importer of timber logs with many industries have come up here, he said there was a plan to create furniture cluster here .It also being a handler of edible oil, there would also be a cluster for which a big market existed in the entire Northern India; then a cluster for automobiles based on imported scrap at the port. There was also mega project in pipeline for raising Rs.500 cr. LPG terminal, Rs.2000 crore Container terminal.
The ambitious smart industrial city project at Kandla would see a hospital turning into a medical college, starting of an engineering college. The city would produce power from solar and wind power and this power would be cheaper than the power produced by a govt agency. This naturally produced power would be sold to the state govt, the minister said. He said that the port trust also should produce sweet water through desalination using the sea water.
Talking about these days much-talked about Iranian port project-development of Chahbar port-with the help of Kandla and JNPT, Gadkari said that the distance between Kandla and the Iranian port was much less than the distance between Mumbai and Kandla. There would be a huge investment of Rs.1 lakh crores.The goods produced there could be exported to Kandla. This would be greatly beneficial to Kandla. Also, he said there would be no need to go Afghanistan via Kandla as Chahbar would provide an entry point to not only Afghanistan, but also to Russia and Europe for development of trade.
He said since water transport was the cheapest of all other transport modes, he said there was an ambitious plan to create a new waterway from Kandla to Jhalod in Rajasthan. It would be 350 km long canal with 5 to 6 meter draft. He said a 3 meter draft would always be maintained for navigation.
He said the fisheries being an important industry in Gujarat, he said the present 12 nautical mile limit would be extended to 15 to 20 nautical miles and fishermen of the state would be given a loan to the fishermen to buy mechanise trawlers to have more fish catch .He said that a road line was also and for this a new express high way between Mundra in Kutch to Sarkhej in Ahmedabad would be created for faster transportation. He said this express highway would be extended from Sarkhej to Jawarharlal Nehru port.
Earlier Kandla Port Trust chairman Ravi Parmar, who was also specially honoured by the minister for the port’s 100MMT handling feat said that the credit for this goes to his officers, workers also to port users who worked like a team to achieve this. He said his port would be creating additional port facilities for its users and seeing the congestion in handling oil, the port had already initiated action to construct three more oil jetties-7,8 and 9. He said while tendering process had already been initiated for two oil jetties, the process for the nine would be done by end of this year. He said his port would have handling capacity of 175 MMT by 2020.
Joint Secretary Ports, P Krishen who had accompanied the minister too congratulated the port for its achievement.
Deputy chairman Alok Singh said that Kandla had been energised by its faster development in the last two years.
The minister who had come to Kandla and Mundra on the last leg of his Gujarat visit began his Kandla visit by a visit to the port and holding a brief meeting with the port officials. He inaugurated a multi-crore rupees sports complex at the port residential colony at Gopalpuri. His main function was however honouring of the topper traffic users at function held in a private hotel. While,the port and shipping related trade organisations including president of apex trade body, Gandhidham Chamber of Commerce and industry, Dinesh Gupta welcomed the minister with garlands ,the minister in turn ,later, honoured 40 port users for their highest handling of cargo in their respective fields.
D V MAHESHWARI