Vessel Services On East And West Coasts Likely

New Delhi, Nov 16: | Updated: Nov 17 2003, 05:30am hrs
The government is planning to establish vessel traffic service (VTS) on the west and east coasts at a cost of Rs 785 crore. One such system is coming up at the Gulf of Kutch and another is being planned at the Gulf of Khambat. Besides these, five more VTS on the either side of peninsula are also being planned in the next 10 years.

VTS is a combination of radar, direction finder, satellite positioning system and various other sensors for effective control of traffic in waterways.

Observing that there was need to increase investment in systems for safe navigation, a shipping ministry official said traffic on Indian coast line had increased significantly and was likely to further increase manifold. There are two developing waterwaysGulf of Kutch and Gulf of Khambat which are catering to a number of ports. Traffic in particularly these waterways will be heavy.

A VTS scheme is being executed for the Gulf of Kutch in participation with the Kandla Port Trust and the Gujarat Maritime Board.

Other systems being planned for improving navigation facilities include monitoring of lighthouses through remote control and automation system which will require an expenditure of Rs 140 crore.

Automatic identification system is also being planned to ensure collision free safe navigation. It will act as a tool to VTS system. The government is aiming at setting up lighthouse at an interval of 30 nautical miles all along the coastline in the next 10 years.

The govt task of introducing these systems became difficult since aids to navigation were established along the coastline and were subjected to coastal regulation zone, said an official. Acquisition of forest land for establishment of lighthouses in the Andaman & Nicobar group of islands.

The government in all plans to spend Rs 1,360 crore on navigation aids. The requirement for budgetary assistance is not much since the directorate general of lighthouses and lightships, the organisation responsible for establishing and maintaining aids to navigation, is a self-sustaining organisation. It collects approximately Rs 80 crore per year as lightdues out of which about Rs 40 crore are available for development schemes. The directorate has Rs 400 crore in the general reserve fund.