New Delhi [India], November 8 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday inaugurated the Ro-Pax terminal at Hazira and flagged off the Ro-Pax ferry service between Hazira and Ghogha in Gujarat through video conferencing. On the occasion, he announced the renaming of Ministry of Shipping as the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said today, people of Gujarat have got their Diwali gift. Everyone will benefit from this better connectivity. He added that business will be boosted and connectivity will become faster.
He further said RO-PAX service between Hazira and Ghogha has made dreams come true for the people of Saurashtra and South Gujarat, as the journey is shortened from 10-12 hours to 3-4 hours. He said this will save time and expenses will also be reduced. He said about 80,000 passenger trains and 30,000 trucks will be able to take advantage of this new service in a year.
PM Modi also said better connectivity between Saurashtra and Surat is going to change the life of the people in these regions. He added fruits, vegetables and milk can now easily be transported and pollution will also be reduced due to this service. He thanked all those engineers, workers, who remained courageous to develop the facility amidst a lot of challenges. He wished the people for this new maritime connectivity established between Bhavnagar and Surat.
The Prime Minister lauded the way Gujarat realised its maritime potential in the last two decades and gave priority to port-led development and said it is a matter of pride for every Gujarati.
He listed the initiatives of the state government in developing the maritime potential of the state like drafting a shipbuilding policy, construction of shipbuilding park and specialised terminals, promotion of vessel traffic management system and ground breaking connectivity project.
He said with these initiatives the port sector has got a new direction. He stressed that efforts were made to modernise the entire ecosystem of the coastal area in addition to developing the physical infrastructure.
The Prime Minister said that today, the capacity of the ports have been increased across the nation and construction of new ports is also going on at a faster pace. He added efforts are made to put maximum use of about 21,000 km of waterway in the country, for the development of the country.
He added that under the Sagarmala project, work is going on over 500 projects across the country. He said that transportation by waterways is many times cheaper than road and railways and also causes less damage to the environment. Yet work has been done with a holistic approach in this direction only after 2014.
The Prime Minister pointed out that work is going on in inland rivers across the country, to connect many land-locked states to the sea.
He added today in the Bay of Bengal, we are developing our capabilities in the Indian Ocean unprecedentedly. The maritime part of the country has emerged as an important part of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
The Prime Minister renamed the Ministry of Shipping as the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways. He said in most of the developed countries the Ministry of Shipping handles Ports and Waterways. He added now with more clarity in name, there will be more clarity in the work.
The Prime Minister said to strengthen the blue economy’s stake in Atmanirbhar Bharat, there is a great need to strengthen the maritime logistics. He was concerned that today, the cost of carrying goods from one part of the country to another is more than other countries.
He suggested that the cost of logistics can be reduced by water transport. Therefore, he said our focus should be to create an ecosystem where there can be a seamless movement of cargo. He added the country is now making rapid strides in the direction of multimodal connectivity to reduce logistics costs and efforts have been made to improve connectivity between road, rail, air and shipping infrastructure and also to overcome the silos.
He said multimodal logistics parks are being constructed in the country and added that multimodal connectivity is being developed with neighbouring countries as well. He wished that with these efforts the cost of Logistics in the country should come down and give impetus to our economy.
The Prime Minister also urged the people to go Vocal for Local during this festive season. He insisted on buying things from small traders, small artisans and rural folks. He said by these efforts light could be lit in the homes of the rural artisans also during Diwali.