Our Correspondent

Tuticorin, June 5

"WE have conducted further studies since tsunami and the implementation of the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project will be carried out as planned," the Minister for Shipping and Road Transport, Mr T.R. Baalu, has said here.

Addressing presspersons, the Minister said the project would give a fillip to development of fishing harbours in the east coast in Rameswaram, Mallipattinam, Nagapattinam, Thondi and Sethubhavasamudram. Further, minor ports are to be developed at Rameswaram and Mandapam for attending to maintenance works.

The government is aware that road connectivity is vital for the development of the region in the South and the national highway projects have been geared for development simultaneously. He allayed fears regarding the project and said that even minor details have been taken care of.

The Government has allotted about Rs 60 crore for the purpose. A letter has been sent to the State Government and a response is awaited. He further said the proposal made earlier of reclaiming the land near Dhanuskodi has been given up.

Earlier, addressing a function for the award of `Certificate of Excellence for Traffic Performance 2004-05, Tuticorin Port Trust', the Minister said infrastructure development is high on the priority of the Government as it will provide a fillip to economic development.

Also equally necessary is the development of social infrastructure and education, health, sanitation and water supply are necessary to do away with poverty. A National Maritime Policy is being evolved for the first time to carry forward the growth process.

He urged the Tuticorin Port Trust to improve in all parameters while the performance is praiseworthy. He reminded that the future belonged to users of the facility and all the ports in the country will have to compete in the development process.

The Minister was in the town for selection of a suitable site for the inaugural meeting.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated June 6, 2005)
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