Action plan drawn to boost maritime sector in 10 years

New Delhi, March 27 | Updated: Mar 28 2005, 06:13am hrs
Development of national sea waterways and setting up of directorate general of ports are the two significant steps which the government plans to implement under an action plan. It has been developed for providing a major thrust to the maritime sector in the next 10 years. According to sources, the government will require generous doses of budgetary support to carry out these proposals.

Development of national sea highways along the coastline, sources say, will be undertaken to solve the problems of dredging and inadequate draft availability in Indian ports. Under this, breakwaters and approach channels would be developed, and, initially, approach channels to major ports with aggregate length of 300-odd km would be taken up. Sources inform about Rs 3,000 crore of budgetary support will be required for the purpose.

The government plans to set up a directorate general of ports under the department of shipping to supervise the overall development of ports. Sources say estimates for establishing directorate general of ports are currently being calculated.

A scheme is to be formulated for providing equity assistance of around Rs 100 crore for the development of minor ports.

Smooth Sailing
Budgetary support worth Rs 3,000 crore will be required
Initially breakwaters and approach channels would be developed
Directorate-general of ports to be set up to supervise development of ports
A scheme is to be formulated for providing equity assistance
Sources estimate projects will be taken up in a phased manner and for this state governments (minor ports are governed by them) may get around Rs 200-odd crore of budgetary support.

The government also plans to strengthen maritime administration, and sources inform it will set up maritime universities and the curricula would include areas like ship finance, maritime law, commercial shipping. Budgetary support of around Rs 1,500-odd crore would be required for the purpose.

Sources inform a coastal shipping development fund with a corpus of Rs 500 crore is being planned for acquiring coastal vessels. There are indications that coastal shipping will be freed of all obligations needed to obtain customs/immigration clearances.

Budgetary support needed for the purpose is being estimated at Rs 10,000 crore.