Shipping minister Nitin Gadkari said that the ministry will need R70,000-R80,000 crore for development of 20,000 km of waterways
The ministry of shipping is working on a proposal to form subsidiaries under the 12 major ports in India, which will invest in developing inland waterways across the country.
According to the plan, the ministry will bring out a policy which will enable all government-run ports to form companies under their umbrella with a focus on such development. To begin with, a decision has been taken to form two waterways under Goa port, a draft proposal for which has already been prepared. Similarly, a subsidiary will be formed under Jawaharlal Nehru Port, followed by others.
Explaining the plan, shipping minister Nitin Gadkari told newspersons that the ministry will need at least R70,000-R80,000 crore for development of 20,000 kilometres of waterways. “Our budget for the shipping ministry is only R1,800 crore, and as inland waterways is a government corporation, it does not have the necessary financial credentials to raise that much money,” Gadkari said.
“My budget for the shipping ministry is R1,800 crore. So for the 20,000 kilometre waterways, we need at least R70,000-80,000 crore. The projects are economically viable, the IRRs are good but it is not a succesfful practice in our country. So we want to develop this inland waterways and need a lot of money for it. So we can raise foreign loan with low interest cost, which will be helful to increase the economic viability of the project and will also change the internal rate of return. In addition, the traffic from these waterways will also help the ports in enhancing their cargo traffic,” Gadkari said.
As of now, the ministry is working with international consultants on 48 draft project reports and 18 project economic viability reports for ascertaining the fund requirements of inland waterways and the means to raise it. Gadkari said, a comprehensive policy for all major ports will be finalised soon.
Gadkari said that the ministry will abolish Tariff Authority for Major Ports or TAMP and come out with a new Act that will govern the sector. “This Act will be simple to understand, transparent and business friendly. Under this itself, we are proposing to abolish TAMP, which will be tabled in the next Parliament session”.