PARADIP : President Droupadi Murmu on Monday said there is a need to further strengthen the infrastructure of ports in the country and increase their efficiency. Murmu said this while gracing the ‘Boita Bandana’ (boat worship) ceremony, organised by the Paradip Port Authority here. Boita Bandana is an annual festival observed in Odisha, remembering the ancient maritime glory of the state, earlier known as ‘Kalinga’.
Stating that the government’s Sagarmala programme is a commendable step to strengthen the port activities, Murmu said the Government of India is working to realise the vision of ‘Ports for Prosperity’ and ‘Ports for Progress’.
The president said that maritime trade has been playing an important role in the trade and economic development of the country. “I am told that 95 per cent of India’s total trade in terms of volume and 65 per cent in terms of value are done through sea transport,” she said.
Stating that India’s ports need to function with greater efficiency in line with global standards, she said: “That is why there is a need to further strengthen the infrastructure of Indian ports and increase their efficiency.”
The president said that historic Baliyatra is a symbolic boat trip of merchants to the islands of Java, Sumatra and Bali. Baliyatra is a unique festival celebrated in memory of Odisha’s glorious past.
“Celebrated since time immemorial, this festival is a symbol of the prosperity of maritime trade of Odisha. It also highlights the rich cultural consciousness of the people of Odisha,” Murmu said.
Noting that the sea has been a major means of strengthening India’s trade, commerce and international relations, the president said that literature based on the sea has also enriched Indian culture.
Murmu said Odisha and other coastal states had a long and prosperous tradition of naval commerce. Apart from trade and commerce, those merchants also played an important role in spreading Indian art and culture abroad, the president pointed out.
The president expressed her pleasure that Paradip Port’s cargo handling capacity has doubled in the last decade. It is poised to become the largest port on the East Coast, she said, adding that it also got the ‘Port of Operational Excellence Award’ at the Global Maritime India Summit – 2023.
Murmu also inaugurated the Multi-Modal Logistics Park which she hoped will give a new direction to the transparent development of trade.
She said that the Vessel Traffic Management and Information System (VTMIS) enabled new modern signal stations will make navigation through this port safer and orderly.
Odisha Governor Mr. Raghubar Das and Union Minister Mr. Bishweswar Tudu also joined the event. Murmu also flagged off a special boat at the event, commemorating the state’s ancient maritime glory. The president also boarded a special vessel ‘Amogh’ of the Indian Coast Guard.
The president inspected port craft and met members of the fishing community.
This is Murmu’s second visit to Odisha in a week after spending three days in her home district Mayurbhanj and Sambalpur from November 20.