…..Day 2 of Sagar Discourse sees deliberation by top maritime honchos of global repute
Goa: In a bid to reduce pollution at sea, Indian government has initiated talks with engine manufacturers including Wartsila, Cummins among others to make bio-fuel compliant engines for Indian shipping vessels, said Nitin Gadkari, Honourble Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping, Government of India. Friday.
“We must use pollution free methanol as fuel that is available at Rs 22 a litre. In Sweden, they are changing from diesel to methanol,” Gadkari said drawing a parallel in the Indian context addressing the opening session on the Day 2 of the Sagar Discourse 2017, held here with participants from 22 countries.
Expressing concerns about pollution on land and sea, Gadkari pointed out adding a new road lane costs the country Rs 80,000 crore leading to 22% increase in automobile population.
“We want to discourage road traffic and promote public and water transport,” he said referring to various work initiatives that has commenced in the rivers of Ganga, Brahmaputra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. We are creating 40 river ports with 3 metre draft and will have a river traffic control on the lines of air traffic control, Gadkari said.
Emphasizing on port led development, Gadkari said that $50-60 billion is being deployed for infrastructure development for port connectivity that will lead to industrial investment of $110 billion of industrial investment and boost employment.
Earlier in the session, Krishna Kotak, Chairman, JM Baxi said that Integration of maritime asset with the hinterland is the key. In terms of cargo handling cost at ports, we are most competitive in the world but unfortunately rail connectivity is expensive, in an apparent reference to the higher logistics cost mentioned by Gadkari earlier in his remarks.
In his concluding remarks, Captain Sanjay Prashar, Co-convenor, FINS Maritime Study Group, called for the need for failure analysis report from the coastal shipping fund floated in 1970. He sought declaration of infrastructure status for coastal shipping as the fleet is only of 100 vessels while the demand stand for 300 ships.