GADKARI TO RAISE FUNDS FOR INLAND WATERWAYS THROUGH STATE-RUN PORTS

Union Minister for Shipping Nitin Gadkari on Monday said that funds for revival of inland waterways would be raised by major State-run ports in the country.

Speaking at the annual convention of Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, Gadkari said the ports will set up subsidiary companies, which will leverage the balance sheet of the ports for raising the debt.

The Minister said for developing the inland waterways, Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM), which has been successfully implemented in the highway sector, would be used. Under HAM, the developers of the waterways could also be compensated for the losses incurred in the projects.

Detailed Project Reports for 48 waterways have been prepared and further work is underway. Civil Engineering consultants have been appointed for reviving major waterways such as Buckingham Canal in Andhra Pradesh. Gadkari said they will help in redesigning a number of bridges, which crisscross the canal.

The minister added that project on river Ganga is catching up a fast pace and soon goods such as cars could be transported from Uttar Pradesh to Bangladesh.

The transportation charge for each car could get reduced by ₹3,000-5,000. The ministry is aiming to develop 111 major waterways in the country, he said.

Speaking at the convention, Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman of Mumbai Port Trust (MPT), said that the MPT has reached an agreement with 59 cruise ships for calling at the Mumbai port.

For a seamless disembarkation of the passengers, new operating procedures including faster custom clearances have been devised.

Bhatia said the MPT is expecting around 100 cruise ships will call at Mumbai port next year.