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Gujarat Maritime Board gets ₹2,037cr for port connectivity infra

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GANDHINAGAR : The Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) has secured an in-principle approval for Rs 2,037 crore to complete infrastructure works of port connectivity. The projects, on which work is expected to start shortly, will give a major push to port-led development in the state.

Key sources aware of the matter said that the GMB’s proposed plan has received the in-principle nod under the central government’s Gati Shakti, Sagarmala, and Bharatmala programmes.

A key officer said: “Chief Minister Shri Bhupendra Patel has accepted the proposal for rail and road connectivity of GMB ports for the speedy evacuation of cargo.” The officer added: “Strengthening connectivity of these non-major ports is expected to help traders and small importers.”

Sources added it is well recognized that cities are growing and cargo evacuation from GMB ports through cities create huge inconvenience to both residents and EXIM cargo operators.

“To address these issues, the state government has sanctioned a ring road for Bhavnagar city,” a source said. “It will encompass the new port to the old port stretch and the old port to the cable-stayed bridge stretch for speedy cargo evacuation.” The source said the proposed project is to be jointly developed by the GMB, the urban development department, and the roads and buildings department. “The aim is to ease traffic on the city’s roads,” the source said. “This 21.60km ring road will be developed at the cost of Rs 297 crore.”

The source said that in Jamnagar, cargo evacuation from three ports is done through the city. “Recognizing the need for cargo evacuation infrastructure for ports, the government is developing last-mile road connectivity,” the source said. “It will cover port approach roads through Valsura marine police station to Gulabnagar overbridge, spanning a distance of 6.67km. This project will cost Rs 70 crore.”

Navlakhi is a strategic port of the GMB which at present handles 10 to 11 million metric tonnes of cargo per year. The state government has recently given the approval to augment the cargo handling infrastructure of Navlakhi port which includes the construction of a 485-metre jetty and affiliated infrastructure. This will enhance the cargo handling capacity up to 20 million metric tonnes per year, sources said.

“At present, Navlakhi is approached through railway and road. The approach road to Navlakhi is 45km from Morbi which is a two-lane state highway,” the source said. “On the request of the state government, the NHAI (National Highways Authority of India) has considered developing a 23km road from Navlakhi port to Pipalia junction.” The source added: “It is envisaged as a four-lane national highway under Bharatmala Pariyojna of the Centre.”

The state government has also taken up the Hazira port railway connectivity development work. “The GMB and the stakeholders of the Hazira area will develop a 33km DFC-compliant railway line to connect Hazira port to the Gothan Gaam DFC rail yard,” the source said. “The budget for the proposed project is Rs 1,600 crore and construction is scheduled to start soon.”

Source : The Times of India

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