Gadkari moots ferry service between Kerala & TN

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on June 09, 2017

Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transport, Highways & Shipping, with Pon. Radhakrishnan (centre), Minister of State for Road Transport, Highways & Shipping, and D Jayakumar, Minister for Fisheries and Finance, Tamil Nadu, at the inauguration of five new projects at Kamarajar port on Friday - Photo: R RAGU

Shipping Minister commits ₹200 cr to promote water transport in the States

Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari has mooted the idea of running a ferry service between Kerala and Tamil Nadu to encourage waterways transport, which is cheaper and safer than road and railway.

He even committed ₹200 crore to form a Water Transport Corporation in cooperation with Tamil Nadu government to run the ferry service from Thiruvananthapuram to Kanyakumari, and to Chennai.

Inaugurating projects worth ₹1,492 crore at Kamarajar port in Ennore, he said one of the ports will invest more than ₹200 crore as equity; he, however, did not divulge the port’s name. River transport, he said, is top priority for the government. Already, cars are being sent via the coastal route from Chennai to Kochi, and to Kandla, he told newspersons.

The ministry will also provide viability gap funding to encourage private investors participate in waterways projects, said Gadkari at the function.

The ministry will provide subsidy to create infrastructure, including jetties at minor ports. “You submit all the proposals to me, we will support you. We will formulate a policy for the project. Don’t worry about the money. We will make the investment,” Gadkari told Tamil Nadu Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar.

“We will formulate a joint venture company and start water transport from Kanyakumari to Chennai and also from Thiruvananthapuram (in Kerala) to Kanyakumari and Chennai. We can even go up to Mumbai and Goa also,” Gadkari said. He urged the State government to provide whatever amount it could, and also requested private investors to participate in the project.

Gadkari lauded Kamarajar port in taking steps to nearly treble capacity in the last three years by initiating five major projects, and becoming a multi-cargo port, handling coal, cars and containers.

The minister inaugurated the container terminal operated by Gujarat-based Adani group on ‘Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer’ basis at a cost of ₹1,270 crore. It will have an annual capacity to handle 1.4 million twenty-foot equivalent units.

The multi-cargo terminal developed at a cost of ₹152 crore can handle two 2 million tonnes per annum (mtpa). The terminal will be operated by the Chettinad group.

Gadkari also inaugurated rail connectivity to the two terminals, e-office and RFID system.

With the commissioning of the two terminals, the port’s capacity will increase to 50 mtpa from the present 32 mtpa.

In a couple of years, the capacity will increase to 90 mtpa when the ongoing projects are completed, said a port press release.

Published on June 09, 2017

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