Bhubaneswar/New Delhi, April 9:
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday urged the Centre to include more projects in the Draft National Perspective Plan (NPP) for comprehensive development of the coastline and the maritime sector under the Sagarmala initiative.
Participating in the second National Sagarmala Apex Committee meeting in New Delhi, the chief minister said while Odisha had furnished nine proposals including four road connectivity projects, four rail connectivity projects and an industrial park at Dhamra, only two proposals have been included in NPP.
He urged union Road Transport, Highways and Shipping minister Nitin Gadkari that other connectivity proposals and the industrial park proposed earlier should also be included in the NPP.
He, however, suggested that the road and rail connectivity projects for Dhamra and Gopalpur ports need to be taken up on priority.
The chief minister said three additional projects including a riverine port on the Mahanadi river, Petrochemicals Cluster at Paradip and Steel Cluster at Kalinganagar may also be approved for inclusion under Sagarmala.
He impressed upon the minister to provide adequate funds under Coastal Community Development Fund to enhance socio-economic condition of fishermen in the coastal districts and to evolve a clear funding pattern under the Sagarmala initiative.
Informing that the hinterland of Odisha is rich with mineral and other natural resources and the state is endowed with a long coastline of 480 km, the chief minister said Odisha has formulated an investor friendly port policy to attract private investment for the development of ports at identified sites in the state.
He added that the development of ports along Odisha’s coast will play a vital role in the development of the state and neighbouring land-locked states like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Bihar and provide multiple exit and landing points for export and import.
These developed ports will act as important National Maritime Trade gateways of India, he stated.
He also highlighted that the port based coastal economic zones and industrial parks will lead to the growth of competitive port based industries and ensure sustainable development of population living in the vicinity of ports.
He said that many developers have come forward for the development of ports in Public Private Partnership mode because of the investor-friendly port policy of the state.
Patnaik said that Dhamra Port developed by Dhamra Port Company Limited has commenced commercial operations of phase-I of the project with a capacity of 25 million tonnes per annum in May, 2011.
Further, the process is underway for the second phase development of Dhamra Port with a capacity of 109 million tonnes per annum entailing an investment of Rs.10,000 crore, he added.
Similarly, the fair weather port of Gopalpur has been converted to all weather direct berthing port which is now operational, he added. Further, the land acquisition process is ongoing for the development of another two non major ports in Odisha including Subarnarekha Mouth Port and Astarang Port.
Gadkari assured that every effort will be made to prioritise port development in Odisha including development of special economic zones and connecting ports to the hinterland by railways and road. (IANS)