Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Sarbananda Sonowal on Thursday said the Syamaprasad Mookerjee Port, Kolkata (SMP) has undertaken multiple projects to connect Northeast and Bangladesh to the hinterland under the Centre’s Act East Policy. The Union Minister inaugurated several essential infrastructure projects and initiatives in Haldia and Kolkata with a project cost of collectively approximately Rs 172 crore, Rs 148 crore and Rs 34 crore respectively on Thursday.
Sonowal also said that owing to the strategic location of the port on National Waterways 1 (NW 1) and the National Waterways 2 (NW2) and proximity to Bangladesh, the government has focused on enhancing the logistics connectivity to the Northeast and Bangladesh.
THE EXISTING ‘PROTOCOL ROUTE’ The ‘Protocol Route’ with coastal infrastructure till Narayanganj/ Pangaon/ Mongla/ Chattogram, provides a lucrative route for the transit of cargo from the hinterland to Bangladesh and onward to Northeast, said Sonowal.
The port has also introduced various schemes, rebates and waivers for promoting cargo through inland waterways for various commodities including fly ash, rice, wheat, maize, sponge iron, etc. The port connects the northern and central India via rail to Kolkata further to Bangladesh and then to Northeast as part of its commitment to provide integrated logistics service, added the Minister.
He also said that the port plans to connect Northeast by NW2 through the IBP route and also connect via transit through Bangladesh via Chittagong port. The trial movement through Chittagong Port has been already done and regular movement to Tripura will soon start.
The SMP aspires to be a hub of IWT and gateway of East and Northeast to the world, he emphasised. The SMP is the first major port of the country established in 1870. As the only riverine all-weather port, it has the longest (232 km) navigational channel in the world and is also the only Indian port connected through rail/ road and Inland Waterways (NW1and NW2), he further said.
Source : Sentinel