The Sagarmala program, introduced by the Government of India on July 31, 2015, aims to advance port-led improvement and provide infrastructure to transport merchandise to and from ports in a fast, proficient and cost-effective manner. In a recent interview with Indian infrastructure, Abhishek Chandra, deputy secretary, Ministry of Shipping (MoS), shares his perspectives on the development under the program, issues, challenges and the way forward…
Sagarmala is the flagship program of the MoS. The program plans to advance port-led development in the nation by tackling the 7,500 km long coastline, 20,000 km of potentially navigable waterways and the key area on key global maritime trade routes. The principle vision of the Sagarmala program is to lessen logistics costs for export- import and domestic trade with minimal infrastructure investment.”
Under the program, 542 tasks, at an expected investment of over Rs 8 trillion, have been distinguished for usage over the next 20 years. Of these, 452 ventures are focused to be taken up by 2019-20. Further, 289 ventures worth Rs 2.17 trillion are now under different phases of implementation and development.
Progress under the four components
Port modernisation and new port development
An aggregate of 241 projects, at an expected cost of Rs 1.39 trillion, have been distinguished under this part. To cater to the growing traffic a map has been set up for expanding limit at Indian ports to more than 3,500 million tons by 2025. As a part of the program, master plans have been settled for the 12 major ports. Based on these plans, 142 port capacity expansion ventures have been recognized for execution over the next 20 years. To fill the demand- supply gap, six areas have been distinguished for new ports.
For enhancing operational proficiency, an investigation to benchmark the execution of major Indian ports to comparable international ports was undertaken and the recommendations of the study are being executed.
The benchmarking study recognized total of 116 initiatives for implementation during 2016-18 to enhance the operational effectiveness and benefit of the major ports. Of the 116 initiatives, 86 have just been executed so far bringing about an additional capacity of around 80 mtpa at the ports. Further, a total of of 48 ventures (Rs 23.77 billion) have been taken up for financial help under the coastal berth scheme. Of these, 26 ventures worth Rs 12.07 billion have been endorsed and financial assistance amounting to Rs 2.66 billion has been released. The rest of the 22 ventures are under different phases of improvement and approval.
Port connectivity enhancement
Under the port connectivity enhancement component, a total of 208 connectivity ventures have been recognized for execution at an expected cost of Rs 2.5 trillion. Of these, 41 last-mile rail connectivity ventures (Rs 210.69 billion) are to be taken up by Indian Port Rail Corporation Limited, 34 rail network ventures (Rs 427.03 billion) by Indian Railways, and 97 road connectivity ventures (Rs 1,688.53 billion) by different organizations, such as the National Highways Authority of India, state public works departments, port experts and others. Of the 97 road connectivity ventures, 56 ventures are proposed to be taken up in convergence with the Bharatmala Pariyojana.