In a federal setup like India, we (Centre) can only make repeated requests to the state governments to support Centre-initiated projects and we cannot wage a war against them for not heeding to our requests, Dr. Vishwapati Trivedi, I.A.S., Secretary, Ministry of Shipping, has said.
Speaking to Port Wings on the sidelines of the launching of a new vessel service by the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) from Chennai to Yangon (Myanmar) at Chennai Container Terminal on Oct 3, the Shipping Secretary spoke on various issues pertaining to Shipping Ministry.
Q: Why the congestion at Chennai Port is still continuing?
VT: The port in Singapore, though located in the city, has better road and bridge connectivity and manages the inflow and outflow of vehicles easily. Unless until the connectivity projects like EMRIP and Maduravoyal Elevated Road are completed, the Chennai Port would continue to suffer in congestion.
Q. What is the present status of revival of coal handling at Chennai Port?
VT: Since the Madras High Court banned the handling of dusty cargoes like Iron ore and Coal few years ago, the port has suffered heavily on its revenue. The case is still pending in the Supreme Court. Hence, the port can’t decide on it as of now.
Q: Why the Indian Maritime University’s headquarter still in the dark despite completion?
VT: It is mainly because of lack of cooperation from the Tamil Nadu government.
Q: On IMU issue, the state govt blames that the Ministry of Shipping for the whole mess, what is your opinion on that issue?
VT: Their contention of not obtaining proper approval for IMU HQ building construction does not hold any ground, as the building has been fully constructed and now awaiting for other amenities like electricity and approach roads, which are to be provided by the state government to make it fully functional.
Q: After the new government in Centre, is there any change of mind on the Sethu Canal project?
VT: We are aware of the whole issue surrounding the Sethu Canal Project. New government and the Shipping Minister are also seized of the matter. They will take a decision on the future of the project very soon.
Q: Given the age-old demand for such service, will the Shipping Ministry launch a passenger service from Chennai to Yangon?
VT: We have already done some study about starting a passenger service between Chennai and Yangon, as most of the expatriates from Yangon lives in and around Chennai. However, new avenues like this would be fully explored in future.
Q: Elaborate us about the “Make in India “initiatives for shipyards to make LNG ships?
VT: The building of three liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier ships of the proposed nine to be acquired by the Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) would be done in India. These highly technical and expensive projects which would cost around Rs 1,500 crore each, has been assigned to Cochin, Kattupalli and Pipavav Shipyards in India, while the rest of the six would be built in somewhere else, while all are expected to be operated by the Shipping Corporation of India.