Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Govt wants to see all ports reap profits: Vasan


The Government of India’s endeavour is to see all the ports in the country remain profitable, Union Minister of Shipping G. K. Vasan has said.

He was speaking after flagging off coal barges of 2, 100 DWT (Deadweight tonnage) of Jindal ITF Ltd, to formally launch the recently started movement of imported coal on National Waterway-1 (the Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly River System) by inland vessels from Sandheads in Bay of Bengal to Farakka Thermal Power Plant of NTPC Ltd. in District Murshidabad, West Bengal, in Kolkata on Nov. 25.

Mr. Vasan said: “This is a unique project where Government, public and private sectors joined hands together to provide a good alternative mode of transport.”
He pointed out that the Kolkata Port Trust would also get revenue out of the project. The Unioin Minister further inaugurated a transport terminal of the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) at the function at Garden Reach Jetty-2 in Kolkata Port Trust area.

He added: “In due course of time IWAI would develop more such inter-modal transportation hubs with rail and road connectivity for the movement of not only coal but also for other bulk cargos like fertilizers and foodgrains. This additional supply of coal through inland waterways, an eco-friendly, economical and fuel- efficient mode of transport, will augment coal supply to NTPC Power Plant at Farakka enabling increased power generation and employment opportunities.”

The Minister also expressed happiness that for the first time in the country a private entrepreneur has made a substantiate investment in the IWT development.

It may be noted here that Jindal ITF Ltd. has invested about Rs. 500 crores for trans-shipper at Sandheads, 23 coal carrying barges, inland water terminal at Farakka with state-of-art coal unloading cranes and a conveyor belt system.

The operator, Jindal ITF Ltd. will transport minimum three million tonnes of coal per annum for seven years.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Vishwapati Trivedi, Secretary, Ministry of Shipping, stated that the project has been set overcoming great difficulties. He emphasized on the importance of further developing the riverain ports of the region.

Kolkata being a transportation hub on the Ganga, the new terminal would serve the States of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and the North-Eastern Region. The construction of this RCC Inland Waterways Terminal (IWT) terminal was taken up in Kolkata Port Trust area at a cost of about Rs. 38 crores and it will give a fillip to inland navigation in the region.

It is the first project for bulk movement of coal through National Waterways. A conveyor belt system from the jetty on National Waterway-1 to the coal stockyard of NTPC power plant was also set up at Farakka.

The Inland Water Transport is economical, environmental friendly and is most suitable for bulk cargo movement. IWAI is developing first 3 National Waterways namely NW-1 (on the Ganga), NW-2 (Brahmaputra) and NW-3 (on the West Coast Canal system) for shipping and navigation by providing navigational channel with targeted depth and width for most part of the year. Intermodal connectivity with rail and road has also been planned for selected locations depending on the hinterland cargo projections.

The infrastructure so far created will be further developed if any other specific projects targeting large quantity of bulk goods like steel, cement, jute, fertilizers and foodgrains are identified and committed for transportation on National Waterways.

At present, 10 thermal power stations are operational in the proximity of National Waterway – 1. Another 11 are expected to come up along the NW-1 in the next five to eight years with a total installed capacity of 15, 000 MW.

National Waterway – 1 is fully ready to cater to the transportation needs of NTPC and other industrial units for transportation of bulk cargo required for the plants located on the banks of the Ganga. Inland Waterways also has the potential to create employment opportunities for people in the vicinity of waterways.

Besides other senior officials, Mr. Amitabh Verma, Chairman, IWAI, and Mr. R.P.S. Kahlon, Chairman, Kolkata Port Trust, participated in the function.

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