The 150 year-old Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) has been renamed and will be called Shyama Prasad Mookerjee Port. While speaking at the function marking the 150th year anniversary of the KoPT at Netaji Indoor Stadium today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi renamed the Kolkata port saying, “KoPT will be called Shyama Prasad Mookerjee Port. He was a pioneer in industrialisation in the country. And that is why, Kolkata port is being named after this great man.”

Also paying tribute to B.R. Ambedkar, he said, “Both Dr Shyama Prasad Mookherjee and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar had new visions and policies for industrial growth in the country.” Modi reached Millennium Park jetty around 11.20 am by boat and his convoy took him to the stadium. “This port is a symbol of India’s traditions. The Central government has taken up projects for Ganga visit (Gangadarshan) in Kolkata also. Around 32 acres of land has been earmarked for this Gangadarshan scheme that includes water park, aquarium and river-front beautification along Hooghly,” the PM said.

“Movement of small ships between Haldia and Benaras has already been started on the Ganga. I have already been connected with Kolkata as I am also the MP of Benaras. The Centre has also decided to modernise the Kolkata port in a bid to connect it with neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar through waterways. Our government has also launched the Sagarmala scheme to improve connectivity,” Mr Modi added.

He also stressed the need to develop the tourism sector using Kolkata port. Haldia port is under the jurisdiction of KoPT. A multi-modal terminal would also be set up in Haldia by the Union ministry of shipping. The navigability of ships and cargos on the Hooghly would also be overhauled so that movement of big vessels can take place and this would revive this oldest port in the country, Mr Modi said, adding that the Centre has already taken many initiatives in this regard.

The Union minister of state (in charge) for shipping Mansukh Mandaviya said in the programme that this is for the first time in 20 years that Kolkata Port has earned a profit. The PM also inaugurated several projects like full rake handling facility at Netaji Subhas Dry Dock, Liquid Cargo Handling Terminal and Riverfront Development projects in the programme.

The port authorities have also felicitated the 105-year-old Naresh Chandra Chakraborty, oldest pensioner of the KoPT, and Nagin Bhakt, a 100-yearold woman pension-holder in the organisation. Modi offered pranams to these ‘centurion’ pensioners, touching their feet, earlier in the programme. He also handed over a cheque of Rs 501 crore to the LIC account for the pensions of retired and serving employees of the KoPT today.