New Delhi, Dec 30 (IANS) Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari Tuesday said that an agreement to start the work on the Rs.12,000 Sagar Port project located near Kolkata would be signed Jan 7.
The agreement will be signed as most of the project outline, feasibility and other formalities before commencing the work on the port project are complete, he said.
The union government had earlier announced aid of Rs.12,000 crore for the deep-sea port at Sagar Island in West Bengal.
Speaking at his residence here, the minister said that the development of port sector is of utmost importance to the government as it aids the flagship ‘Make in India’ programme and generates jobs.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is very keen on seeing the port sector pick up development pace and various projects of capacity expansion started, he said.
As regards inland water transport development, the Rs.4,700 crore aid by the World Bank for development of Varanasi-Haldia waterway would begin soon.
“The first phase for development of inland waterways on Ganga would start from areas which have adequate draft and depth like Varanasi-Haldia followed by Allahabad to Varanasi,” Gadkari said.
“In the second phase we will look at creating infrastructure like dams, reservoirs and dredging work, where there is lack of draft and depth like stretches from Delhi to Agra.”
According to the minister, other projects on Mahanadi river in Odisha and Brahmaputra river are also being considered.
“There has been a good response from the foreign infrastructure development firms for projects of inland waterways,” the minister said.
“We plan to attract foreign investment through automatic approval route into the sector which has 100 percent foreign equity participation on long term low interest rate basis,” he said, noting inland waterways are the cheapest and most environment friendly means of transport.