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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Rs 7,000-cr investment for port linkage

 India’s maritime trade is set to witness a major boost in the coming years with strengthening of road and rail connectivity to the major ports. Projects worth Rs 7,000 crore have already been sanctioned so far, this year, for rail and road connectivity to ports.

These include ten road projects to be completed by 2007, and four projects, which are to be sanctioned soon. Eight rail projects for port connectivity are also to be completed by 2008, while five are awaiting clearance. The ports that will gain the most from these projects are Paradip, Haldia, and Tuticorin port. Ports at Kolkata, Ennore, Kandla and Cochin will also see major connectivity work.

Much of the connectivity work is in the form of four-laning of national highways and doubling of railway lines. In the pipeline is also the dedicated freight corridor of the railways. The two corridors, which are being constructed at present, will provide connectivity to Mumbai and Kolkata ports. However, new sections of the corridor, to be constructed during the 12th Five Year Plan aim to connect ports on the eastern and western coast, while another is being planned exclusively for the eastern ports.At present, the 12 major ports handle about 75% of the maritime cargo.

The Centre is aiming for a GDP growth of 8% in a sustained manner and for this, a quantum growth in development and modernisation of port infrastructure, especially for ensuring global competitiveness, is required.A report on the subject by the committee of infrastructure, headed by the Prime Minister, has underlined the need for infusion of new technology and capital building to enhance connectivity of major ports with the hinterland. It has projected a compound annual rate of growth of traffic of 7.43% at these ports by 2014.

For meeting these traffic demands, it had suggested in its report, “Each major port should have at least four-lane road connectivity as well as double line rail connectivity.”

Source: Finiancial Express

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