Two weeks ago, the Ministry of Ayush had signed the host Country Agreement with World Health Organization (WHO) for establishing the WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine (GCTM) in India.
Acting on the ‘Look East’ policy of the Indian government, the Syama Prasad Mookherjee Port (SMP), Kolkata, plans to connect North East (NE) by National Waterways (NW) – 2 through Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route, and simultaneously connect via transit through Bangladesh via Chattogram port, said Sarbananda Sonowal, Union minister of port, shipping and waterways while attending port stakeholders meeting in Kolkata today.
The shipping minister, who went for an overall inspection of the Kolkata port’s ongoing projects, today said that the Narendra Modi government has enormous plans for the port due to its strategic location and being the only riverine port. Sonowal explained that owing to the port’s location on NW1 and NW2, and its proximity to Bangladesh, it is enhancing connectivity to the NE and Bangladesh.
It is learnt that the existing IBP with coastal infrastructure till Narayanganj/Pangaon/Mongla/Chattogram provides a “lucrative route” for the transit of cargo from the hinterland to Bangladesh and further to NE. Sonowal highlighted that SMP will be made a “hub” of Inland Water Transport (IWT) and gateway of East and NE India to the world.
The Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) of the port is also undergoing several augmentation projects which include installation of illumination and surveillance system in port areas for better monitoring of cargo handling operations.
A total of 53 high mast towers and 91 cameras have been installed at a cost of Rs 14.09 crores and Rs 2.25 crores respectively, as per information provided by the port authorities.
In another project, the HDC is extending the dock area on the eastern side to widen the port area with the objective of creating an additional cargo facility to meet increasing customer demand. The project spread over 41,000sqm at a cost of Rs 4.23 crores is expected to generate more revenues in long term.
Additionally, as part of the ‘green port’ project, a one-megawatt solar plant has been installed which is expected to reduce the port’s carbon footprint under National Solar Mission.
This is also expected to reduce the unit rate of electricity generated and eventually save Rs 70 lakhs per year at a project cost of Rs 6.6 crores. A dust barrier will also be set up at a cost of Rs 9.2 crores. Sonowal emphasised that it was about time that the port stepped into a competitive arena by bolstering its export/import facilities.
The port is also spending Rs 27 crores for resurfacing its road infrastructure in Hyde Road, Transport Depot and Hoboken Road. As part of the National Monetisation Plan (NMP), the improved road infrastructure is expected to reduce accident rates, and improve connectivity and traffic movement.