Sagarmala funds pledge


The Union shipping ministry is eyeing the award of projects worth around Rs 70,000 crore under the flagship Sagarmala programme in 2018-19.

The Rs 8-lakh-crore programme, which started in 2015, will cover around 570 projects across four verticals - port modernisation, connectivity enhancement, port-linked industrialisation and coastal community development.

"At present, we have projects worth around Rs 3.5 lakh crore in progress or in the planning stage. We are looking at additional projects worth Rs 70,000 crore," K.K. Aggarwal, joint secretary of the Sagarmala project in the ministry of shipping, told on the sidelines of a Bengal Chamber of Commerce event on Friday.

Most of the fresh investment will be for port modernisation and better connectivity.

Aggarwal said despite the challenges such as longer gestation period for some projects on account of the preparation of reports, getting environment and statutory clearances, evaluating financial viability, the programme has progressed well.

Under the programme, six new port locations were identified in Bengal, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra. This section of the programme could take longer because of the gap between planning and project take-off.

"At present, the capacity in our ports is sufficient to cater to traffic. Most of the new ports are currently in the planning stage," said Aggarwal.

The government has envisaged expanding the port capacity to over 3,500 million tonnes by 2025 to handle growing traffic.