India planning to add 8 new major ports: Nitin Gadkari

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As part of its aggressive plans for port-led development, government on Wednesday said it is looking to add eight new major ports to the already existing 12. “We are planning to add eight new major ports, including the three already announced — at Wadhwan in Maharashtra, Sagar in Bengal and Colachel in Tamil Nadu,” Union Shipping and Ports Minister Nitin Gadkari said here a day ahead of the Maritime India Summit.

He did not reveal the locations of the other five ports, but added that the aforesaid three ports entail investment of Rs 25,000 crore and work on them will start this year itself. After Kandla in the 1950s, India has not built any other major port. Following rapid economic growth, country saw the development of private sector non-major ports.

Gadkari said the 12 major ports together have delivered Rs 4,200 crore profit in 2015-16, and their growth rates are faster than private sector rivals as well as global peers. Apart from it, state-run corporations such as Shipping Corporation, Dredging Corporation and Cochin Shipyard will deliver another Rs 1,500 crore in profits, taking the overall contribution by the enterprises under his ministry to over Rs 6,000 crore, he said.

From a long-term perspective, the government is planning investments of more than Rs 12 trillion in the ports and waterways sector which will help generate 1 crore new jobs, Gadkari said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will inaugurate the summit here, will release a national perspective plan on the Sagarmala Project with details of investments, Gadkari said.

At the three-day summit, agreements entailing investments of over Rs 82,000 crore will be signed, he said, adding this includes 35 concession agreements of Rs 5,900 crore, 20 work orders of Rs 8,250 crore and 86 MoUs involving an investment of over Rs 68,700 crore.

More than a dozen union ministers are expected to address the summit, for which 3,000 delegates, including 300 from 41 countries, have registered, he said. Chief Ministers of Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat will also be present.

To be held at NSE Grounds in suburban Goregaon, the summit will have 13 technical sessions, 200 exhibitors and 52 participants from South Korea, which is the partner country for the event. It will also have a museum resembling a ship displaying the maritime history of the country, made by art director Nitin Desai. India and South Korea also signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation and mutual assistance in the port sector, Gadkari said.

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