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Gadkari brings Sindi dry port works under his ministry’s control again

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NAGPUR : Union Transport Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari has finally got his dream project back under his control. The dry port proposed by him at Sindi in Wardha district had been strongly pushed as a project that would give a major fillip to logistics business in Vidarbha. Gadkari lost control over the project when the shipping ministry was taken away from him, but now the project has been taken over by an undertaking of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), which comes under Gadkari’s ministry.

Coming up as a multimodal logistics park (MMLP), Sindi was a regular mention in Gadkari’s speeches. Being built by Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), since Gadkari held the shipping ministry in his first term, the work had taken a back seat lately. Recently, a MoU was signed between JNPT, and National Highways and Logistics Management Limited (NHLML), to develop the Sindi project. Formed around six months ago, NHLML is an NHAI undertaking.

The minister also announced plans to set up more multimodal logistics parks on the lines of Sindi. JNPT is building similar facilities at Jalna, Solapur and Nashik, and a tie-up with NHLML is expected.

In the second term of the BJP government, Gadkari was left with the road transport ministry. Work on Sindi port also took a back seat after that. This was because JNPT did not have much experience of building a hinterland port. Now with NHLML holding 60% stake in the JV with JNPT, much of the control is expected to be with Gadkari’s ministry.

Gadkari said the project will develop Sindi town into a smart city and eventually develop Nagpur as the logistics capital of the country. Apart from an inland container depot (ICD), Sindi will also have a warehousing and industrial complex close by. This will bring units producing cargo close to the dry port, which will directly take the containers to JNPT port
at Mumbai.

The project will be developed on PPP basis with bids to be invited for roping in a private partner. At present, most of the work will be done by NHAI as JNPT, which has set up the basic infrastructure of an ICD and rail connectivity, does not have much role left in further development. NHAI will establish road connectivity to the park. A private developer will be roped in for running the park where units will be invited for taking up land in industrial and warehousing parks.

“The MMLP will be different from a conventional ICD, which is already there in region, because of industries and warehousing facilities coming close to it,” said K Sathianathan, a Director of NHLML. Apart from this, export cargo can also be moved for domestic  destinations from Sindi, he said.

Sathianathan said the Sindi project is close to Butibori and also has a number of other industries in its catchment area.

At present there is movement of 10,000 twenty-feet equivalent units (TEU) containers from Nagpur. There are three ICDs operational with two more, including Sindi, coming up. The strategic location of Sindi is expected to attract much of the exiting business to the logistics park.

Sanjay Sethi, Chairman of JNPT, said formalities which are normally done only at the port will be completed right at the ICD in Sindi. Similar facilities are not available in  onventional ICDs.


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