The Maharashtra state government has been working to expedite the implementation of various ongoing waterways and port infrastructural projects in the state.
A meeting between Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and the Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal, was held on 21 February 2023.
The meeting focused on discussions related to various projects in the state for ports, shipping and waterways proposed under the Sagarmala Project.
Underlining that the maritime infrastructure plays a vital role in the nation’s economy, Sonowal said that the Sagarmala project aligns with the Maritime India Vision 2030, and is aimed at providing better facilities to the people in the coastal region.
He said the initiatives would further boost infrastructure and drive investments to improve regional connectivity to aid trade.
Through the implementation of the Sagarmala initiative, Indian ports have become more efficient in handling large volumes of containers with reduced turnaround time.
Maritime Development In Maharashtra
In 2015, the Indian Government approved the Sagarmala project to facilitate port-led development in the country. The project aims to harness the 7,500-km-long coastline of the country to its full economic potential.
The project's objective is to improve the transportation infrastructure at ports for efficient, quick, and cost-effective movement of resources.
The state of Maharashtra has a long coastline spanning around 720 km, that has numerous established trade and commercial operations. Under the Sagarmala project, there are 114 projects being implemented with an estimate cost of Rs 99,210 crore.
Out of the total projects, 43 projects worth Rs 2,121 crores are partially funded by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW).
According to an official release, 11 projects worth Rs 443 crore are under the development stage, while various other projects have been completed.
With the meeting, Minister Sonowal further said that to celebrate the maritime activities of the coastal states of the country, the ‘Coastal States Pavilion’ has been proposed to be developed in the National Maritime Heritage Complex (NMHC).
Accordingly, an area of 14,000 sq. ft. with a construction area of 6,000- 8,000 sq. ft. has been identified in the state.
The meeting also stressed on the development of environment-friendly Ro-Ro (roll on-roll off) and Passenger transportation through waterways.
The inland waterways, for the purpose of passenger transportations and tourism, have been witnessing prime attention, with an objective to harness the potential of the vast water resources in India.
At present, 31 Ro-Ro and Ro-Pax projects are currently functioning in Maharashtra.
Promoting Greener Growth Of Shipping Industry
With such large-scale growth and developing waterways and shipping industries, the centre is aiming to increase the share of renewable energy to 60 per cent in the total power consumption of its major ports from a present share of less than 10 per cent.
Many operational and upcoming ports have aimed to reduce carbon emissions, per tonne of cargo handled, by 30 per cent by the year 2030, following the Maritime Vision Document 2030 for a sustainable maritime sector and vibrant blue economy.
The MoPSW has undertaken green port initiatives in the major ports so that their environmental performance can be improved.
These initiatives include acquisition of various equipment:
for monitoring environmental pollution
dust suppression systems
setting up of STP’s garbage disposal system for ports and ships
developing shore reception facility for wastes from ships
setting up projects for energy generation from renewable energy sources
Additionally, actions are being implemented for improving harbour water quality, sustainable practices in terminal development and operations, and increasing green cover within port premises
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