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MoPSW to expedite Rs 1,913-cr ‘high-impact’ projects under Gati Shakti

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NEW DELHI : With the Centre aiming for rapid ramp-up of India’s infrastructure (infra) and logistics sector, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways has identified nine high-impact infra projects worth Rs 1,913 crore as part of the Pradhan Mantri GatiShakti-National Master Plan (NMP). The high-impact projects will be closely monitored through 2022-23 (FY23).

“In totality, we have identified 101 projects estimated to cost around Rs 62,627 crore under GatiShakti. We aim to complete these by 2024, while the target for the nine high-impact projects is by the end of this fiscal year,” said a senior official.

The official, who is part of the GatiShakti network planning group (NPG), which oversees project management for the integrated infra development programme, added that two of these nine projects — extension of container terminals at Port of Visakhapatnam and mechanisation of container terminal of New Mangalore Port — have been completed.

Other projects in the high-impact pipeline are in advanced stages of completion. Business Standard had previously reported that the Centre has identified a total of 81 high-impact projects under the GatiShakti NMP, almost half of which are to be executed by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. Five of the projects are to be executed by major ports at an estimated cost of Rs 900 crore, while the others are being taken up by the Inland Waterways Authority of India.

“Seven of 101 projects (in the GatiShakti pipeline) of Rs 2,369 crore have been completed so far, resulting in the addition of 150,000 square metre storage area at ports, mechanisation of cargo-handling facilities, development of 277 hectares of economic and industrial zones on port-owned land, and construction of container terminals,” said the official.

The ministry has also identified 80 roadways and rail connectivity projects as part of the GatiShakti initiative. Another official said that one of the reasons some ports were earlier undesirable for the industry was because of higher cargo evacuation time, as ports did not have sufficient multimodal connectivity.

“This is in addition to the 92 road and 93 rail connectivity projects that we are managing under the Sagarmala programme,” the first official said.

According to sector experts and government officials, the existence of departmental silos used to result in the stalling of significant infra projects and duplication of work.

GatiShakti aims to bring these problems to a halt through a unified approach to infra development.

Recently, the ministry admitted to having hit a wall on the development of three of the 14 coastal economic zones it had identified under the Sagarmala programme since other key infra initiatives, such as the Bharatmala project for highways and dedicated freight corridors for railways, had been envisaged along the same routes. The national perspective plan for these special zones is currently being modified in view of these.

The Centre has high hopes from the initiative, with Finance Minister Smt Nirmala Sitharaman calling it one of the top four priorities of the government for FY23 in her Union Budget speech. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi recently said that the integrated infra platform could be instrumental for India to solve the menace of high logistics cost.

According to government estimates, the cost of logistics is around 13-14 per cent of gross domestic product today, which is nearly double that of many developed nations.

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