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Road Ministry, NHAI to take up 82 highway projects for better port connectivity

Business Standard:  September 14, 2016

New Delhi: Road Ministry and National Highways Authority of India will together take up 82 highway projects under the ambitious Bharatmala project in order to improve port connectivity.

This is part of the broader highway expansion plan that the government plans to undertake in the upcoming years.

At present, connectivity to both major and minor ports require a lot of work and this is a step in that direction, a Shipping Ministry official told Business Standard.

He said that this proposal by the Ministry of Shipping was accepted by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, which will take up 18 projects under the scheme for better minor port connectivity.

As many as 32 projects would be taken up by the NHAI, which would help in improving connectivity to both major as well as minor ports. The remaining projects would be divided between the central government and NHAI.

Under the Bharatmala project, Road Ministry will take up detailed review of national highways network with a view to improve road connectivity to coastal and border areas, religious and tourist places, construction, rehabilitation and widening of about 1,500 major bridges, 200 Railway Over Bridges and Railway Under Bridges on highways, improvement of road connectivity to district head-quarters and improving connectivity for Char-Dham (Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunothri & Gangothri in Uttarakhand).

Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari has time and again said that improving port connectivity through rail and road network is a focus area for the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government. An investment to the tune of Rs 4 lakh crore is required for the purpose, the minister had said.

There are 12 major ports in the country — Kandla, Mumbai, JNPT, Marmugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Ennore, V O Chidambarnar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia) — which handle over 60 per cent of India’s total cargo traffic.

There are 200 non-major or minor ports in the states of — Maharashtra (48), Gujarat (42), Tamil Nadu (15), Karnataka (10), Kerala (17), Andhra Pradesh (12), Odisha (13), Goa (5), West Bengal (1), Daman and Diu (2), Lakshadweep (10), Pondicherry (2) and Andaman & Nicobar (23).

The central government is also developing three new ports at Wadhavan, Dhanu in Maharashtra, Sagar in West Bengal and Colachel in Tamil Nadu.

According to 2015-16 Economic Survey, cargo traffic at all ports increased by 1.1 per cent during the first six months of the financial year (April-September).

It increased by 4.1 per cent at major ports but declined 1 per cent at the non-major ports, as compared with the same period in 2014-15.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.