A day after the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar expressed his disagreement on shifting the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) out of the city limits, State Ports Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil seems to be ready to alter his ideas on shifting the port from the city.
But he is stuck to the ‘new development concepts’ he has seen worldwide for port cities. Shiv Sena executive president, Uddhav Thackeray has also opposed the move threatening agitation against such a policy.
“I don’t want to make this issue a political one. However, none of these leaders have visited the port after the chemical leak and understood the gravity of the situation. It is time we think of ports with a development plan in place which is favourable for the city,” Vikhe Patil told Hindustan Times.
But Vikhe-Patil, who had earlier in his letter to Union Minister of Shipping G.K. Vasan, as first reported by HT on July 21, suggested shifting the port out of the city, clarified his stand.
“Shifting need not be to another district. Port activities can shift to the hinterland by reclaiming into the sea. The land inside the city can be used to create more sustainable employment by creating shipping yards or war ship manufacturing,” he said.
In his letter, Vikhe-Patil had suggested that as a long-term measure ‘the time has come to have a critical view of ports within city limits’. He even suggested sale of port land within the city. “The funding for expansion of port activities in these inter-tidal areas is being executed by sale of properties of the old port within city limits,” he had said in his letter.
“In the end, the land belongs to the Centre and MbPT and we can only suggest mechanisms to make this port activity more viable,” Vikhe Patil said.