A target has been set for the Shipping Ministry for award of projects for creating 244 million tonnes of capacity during 2012-13 spread across 42 projects at an estimated cost of Rs. 14,500 crore. The target also includes obtaining approval for establishing two new Major Ports – one in Andhra Pradesh and another in West Bengal. This was stated by Shri G.K. Vasan, Union Minister of Shipping while inaugurating the National Conclave on Shipping organized by the Federation of Indian Export Organizations in Chennai on 18JUN12.
The ministry of shipping could only award 1 out of the 24 earmarked projects in 2011 largely due to security clearance concerns for private players participating in the projects. Following the delay, the shipping ministry asked the government to enable the ministry to give security go-ahead to infrastructure projects, a plea aimed at expediting project clearances.
Under the existing norm, companies have to get security clearance from ministries of home, defence and external affairs before embarking on a project. The shipping ministry then proposed to the government to allow it to take the final call on project clearances after receiving inputs from the other three concerned ministries.
India’s port sector has been reeling under heavy pressure due to capacity constraints and various policies. At JNPT, India’s biggest container port, the port is working at more than 120% of its capacity due to capacity constraints.