Port projects on PM menu

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will kick off a slew of port-related infrastructure projects, including a riverfront promenade for cruise tourism at Khidderpore and a maritime museum capturing the 150-year history of Calcutta Port Trust.

The PM will also formally launch on Sunday a shipbuilding and repairing project in Calcutta, mechanisation of a berth and construction of a liquid handling terminal at Haldia and the extension of a railway network at an investment of more than Rs 500 crore.

Mansukh Mandaviya, the Union minister of shipping (independent charge), who reached Calcutta on Thursday evening in the run-up to the PM’s events over the weekend, said Modi would also inaugurate a light and sound show on Howrah Bridge.

While formally kicking off the 150-year celebration of CPT on Sunday in the presence of thousands of port pensioners and employees at Netaji Indoor Stadium, Modi will transfer Rs 500 crore to the Life Insurance Corporation of India as CPT’s contribution to the pension corpus of retired employees.

The mechanisation of Berth 3 and development of a liquid cargo terminal at Haldia Dock Complex will cost Rs 330 crore and Rs 80 crore, respectively, the shipping minister said, adding muscle to CPT’s ability to handle additional cargo.

In Calcutta, the dry dock facility inside Netaji Subhas Dock will be converted into a shipbuilding and repairing facility in association with Cochin Shipyard.

CPT and Cochin Shipyard will form a joint venture for this.

Riverfront development

A 32-acre plot, which has old warehouses at present, will be converted into a swanky promenade with multiple facilities at a cost of Rs 100 crore.

“It will be a place where somebody would like to spend the evening with the family,” the minister said, adding it will also house a cruise terminal.

“Calcutta is an ideal location where inland water riverline cruise and seafaring cruise can take place. It is an important conduit to promote tourism and generate employment,” he said. By inland waterways, cruise ships can reach all the way to Assam through Bangladesh and Varanasi via the river Ganga.