Foreseeing a port based economic growth for Odisha, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today said the state will witness huge investment and job opportunities.

Recalling the glorious maritime history of Odisha when sailors used to trade with Indonesia and other countries, Pradhan said the modern day development of the state will potentially be port and waterways based.

The long over 400 km coastline , the proposed coastal highway will be the epicenter of development, he said.

Addressing the virtual session on ‘Investment Opportunities in Odisha’ during the Maritime India Summit 2021, organized by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, jointly with FICCI, Pradhan said, “the development of eastern part of India is largely linked to the development of ports and the overall economic growth of the country won’t be possible without port-led development in eastern India. In the 21st century, globally the primary network for transportation will be maritime and there has been sizable investment planned by the government of India for improvement in port-connectivity.”

He informed that Rs 300 crore has been sanctioned by the government for developing a dedicated economic corridor from Paradip to Barbil. The riverine port project, the Haridaspur – Paradip railway line, the petroleum and gas grid will also usher in investment and job opportunities in a big way, he said.

Odisha transport minister Padmanabha Behera, the development of port sector would help sustainable and inclusive growth of industries in the state. Various power plants, metal industries and petrochemical units are coming up within the state which would largely depend on water transport for economic viability, he added.

He added that the on-going development of National Waterway No-5 will enhance the inland water transport facility further and help economic growth of the state.

Madhu Sudan Padhi, Principal Secretary, Commerce and Transport Department, said that the state government had conducted a study with the help of IIT Chennai to ascertain the feasibility of setting up ports in different locations along the vast coastline of Odisha’s 480 kms. Basis, the study findings the state government has invited private players to develop non-major ports in the suggested locations and operate in the BOOST (build, own, operate, share and transfer) mode.

Principal secretary, Industries department , Hemant Sharma, noted that since Odisha is considered the hub of mineral and metal production, there is a need for port development within the state to boost industrial development. Emphasis is also given for hinterland connectivity wherein, ports connected with good road and rail network and gas pipeline for inclusive industrial growth and nation development, he said.

Dilip Oomen, CEO, AMNS; VR Sharma, MD Jindal Steel and Power Ltd along with Dibyendu Bose, VP (Supply Chain) Tata Steel Ltd also shared their experiences of investing in the port and industrial sector in Odisha.

Vineet Kumar, Chairman, Paradip Port Trust and AK Bose, Deputy Chairman, Paradip Port Trust were the conveners for the Odisha State session at Maritime India Summit 2021.