Bengal govt to explore potential of minor ports as Mamata gives go-ahead

Bengal govt to explore potential of minor ports as Mamata gives go-ahead

Hummingbird News Desk

BEHRAMPORE, 14 DEC: The Bengal government is ready to proceed with a proposal for setting up minor ports along the major rivers in Bengal. The chief minister, Mamata Banerjee has already accepted such a proposal of riverine mini-ports.

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Last week during a meeting with her secretariat and officials of Murshidabad district chambers of commerce she asked her officials here to work on the proposal placed by the commerce body, sources said.

It’s a good idea to make river ports, the chief minister remarked. “Explore the idea. Talk to the technical experts on ports and inland waterways. Make viability check and proceed”, she said. She also expressed concern that the central government might not give permission because ports are central subject. The commerce body that came up with the proposal of riverine ports maintained that minor ports belong to concurrent or federal subject and the state governments can exercise reasonable jurisdiction over the matter.

Mamata Banerjee, while hearing the plan of mini-ports, directed the Murshidabad district chamber of commerce to submit the proposal to the district magistrate, Sharad Kumar Dwivedi in presence of her chief secretary, Hari Krishna Dwivedi during the administrative meeting here on Wednesday.

“We feel happy to note that our chief minister, Mamata Banerjee has accepted our proposal of minor ports and her government is also working on the plan. The proposed riverine ports, which in addition to independent cargo operation would also serve as ancillary to major ports of the Centre, have the potential to boost up our economy with enough room for employment generation”, said Swapan Bhattacharya, joint-secretary of Murshidabad district chamber of commerce.

“We have information that coal-laden barges in the Bhagirathi river navigate at least 100 nautical miles from the sea-port to supply coals at the state-run thermal power plant at Sagardighi in Murshidabad district. The central government also uses the same waterways to supply coals to the super thermal power plant of NTPC at Farakka. Minor ports are likely to facilitate and enhance such cargo services”, Bhattacharya told Hummingbird News.

He argued, “Currently we export rice to countries like South Africa, North Korea, Bangladesh etc. Our mangoes are exported to Dubai. There are other agro-based products which are exported to Arabian countries. Silk, litchi, flour are some of our major export items which are sent by roads to Haldia and Khidirpur docks. If we can use waterways to send the export goods to major ports, transport cost would come down.”

The minor ports along the major rivers like the Ganga, Padma and Bhagirathi would also ensure the ease of doing business with Bangladesh, said the traders’ forum. Now India uses two points –Mehedipur in Malda and Benapole in N-24 Parganas in Bengal –for export and import business with Bangladesh.

“Business with Bangladesh would see a huge growth if we can utilize the proposed river ports. Road transport has plenty of problems. There are times when ships depart before the trucks with export items reach the port. It is because the trucks are often delayed due to traffic jam”, said officials of the chamber of commerce.

Tags: #MamataBanerjee #MinorPorts #RiverinePorts #Bangladesh #WestBengal    

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