Won't give excess Mumbai port trust land to builders: Gadkari

Union shipping minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said Mumbai port trust will not give its excess land to builders but utilise it for benefit of Mumbai.

india Updated: Jan 01, 2015 20:06 IST

Union shipping minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) will not give its excess land to builders but utilise it for benefit of Mumbai.

"We will not be selling any land to builders, please do not have any such misconceptions," Gadkari told reporters.

Gadkari said MbPT, which holds excess land, will be discontinuing bulk cargo operations like handling coal and ores as they affects traffic and cause pollution in the city.

For car exports, state-run Cidco has identified land across the harbour in Navi Mumbai from where the operations can be handled, Gadkari said, adding this will also reduce the loads on roads in Mumbai.

The port land will be used for construction of convention centre, parks, setting up passenger service terminals and marina for anchoring private yachts, he said.

The minister also said that his ministry is in the process of engaging an international consultant on how to best utilise this land and also invited suggestions from people.

According to analysts, the land on the eastern seafront in space-crunched Mumbai possesses a big opportunity for the developers, but Gadkari's comments have put an end to speculations over utilisation of the same.

He said the liquid operations of the port, which generates over 65% of the revenue, will continue.

Gadkari further said that an alternate port has already been identified that will undertake the same work, but declined to specify the alternative, saying the Maharashtra government has to give his nod for the same.

"Nobody will be unemployed as a result of this and the port will not cease operations," he said.

Pointing out on not having fully utilised the potential of various ports, Gadkari said there is a need to develop smaller ports which may serve as feeder for the bigger ones like MbPT and the neighbouring JNPT.

With the same objective, the ministry has identified potential near Dahanu where having an 18-metre draft is possible, as also Vijaydurg and Revas-Karanja, he said.

The minister also apprised of the inland Varanasi-Haldia corridor on river Ganga, where Rs 12,000 crore will be invested for building new port facilities to reduce movement of goods through expensive and unsafe road transport, by switching over to waterways.

The ministry is also constructing inland feeder ports at Wardha and Aurangabad for the EXIM trade, he said.

In order to leverage the tourism sector's potential, Gadkari said efforts are on to create necessary infrastructure around lighthouses to attract tourists.

The ministry is also finalising proposals on to 'flotels' (hotels) on the sea at Bhau Cha Dhakka and Marine Lines, he said, adding, these will be 5 or 7 star facilities.

Gadkari said sea planes and faster means of passenger transport like catamarans and hovercraft will also be beneficial and added that efforts are on to have manufacturing facilities of international players in the country, under Centre's flagship 'Make in India' initiative.

The ministry will be starting trial runs of an amphibian bus ordered from a Malaysian manufacturer by the country's largest container port JNPT in the next three months, Gadkari said, adding that it may be implemented on a mass scale based on feasibility.

Plans are underway to set up an engine manufacturing unit near Bengaluru and have the bus manufacturing within Maharashtra, he said.

Gadkari added that he has also written to the finance ministry seeking import duty exemption for the bus manufacturing because of advantages like reduction in oil consumption and cleaner cities.

First Published: Jan 01, 2015 20:00 IST