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Ports can seek funds for constructing coastal berths for another 3 years

 Shipping Ministry has announced the extension of coastal berth schemes under Sagar Mala for a further period  three years up to March 2020 and urged the ports and the state governments to avail of the scheme and augment coastal berth capacity in the country. The Ministry has also extended the scope of the project to cover Capital Dredging at major ports and preparation of Detailed Project Report for coastal berth projects .

The Ministry which is implementing coastal berth projects for the last few years has taken up works in both major and state owned ports to the tune of rs 2302 crores. The decision to extend the deadline and expand the coverage was taken in consultation with the Department of Expenditure of the Union Finance Ministry and Niti Ayog recently.

The home state of the Shippping Minister Nitin Gadkari, Maharashtra tops the number of coastal berth projects cornering as many was 12 of them followed by Karnataka six, Kerala and Tamil nadu put together 3, Gujarat 2 and West bengal 1

In Tamil nadu, two coastal berth projects have been taken up at Chennai and Cuddalore ports. The construction of coastal berth at Chennai port ran into rought weather due to rock formation on the coast. There has been both cost and time over runs and the berth is likely to be ready by middle of next year. The coastal berth project at Cuddalore is taken up jointly with the state government and is progressing smoothly.

Out of the 47 coastal berth projects identified in the country's coastline, funds have been released for 23 projects. The remaining 24 projects are under various stages of development and process of approval.

The recent beneficiaries of the scheme include Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Maharasthra and Karwar and New Mangalore Ports in Karnataka. While rs 25 crores have been sanctioned for a coastal berth in JNPT, a sum of Rs 115 crores were sanctioned for Karnataka government  for extension of Southern breakwaters, construction of new Northern breakwaters and construction of coastal berth at Karwar Port (Navy) and construction of coastal berth and capital dredging in New Mangalore Port.

The coastal berth scheme aims to provide financial support to Ports and State governments for creation of infrastructure for movement of cargo and passengers by Sea or National Waterways. The admissible financial assistanced from the central government is fifty per cent of the total cost of the project subject to a maximum of Rs 25 crores for projects relating to construction or upgradation of coastal berth by both major and non major ports, maximum of Rs ten crores for construction of platform or jetties for hovercrafts or seaplanes by ports, state governments and passenger jetties in National waterways  and islands by state governments.

The Shipping Ministry will release a maximum of rs fifteen crores for Mechanisation of berths in both major and non major ports, Rs fifty crores for capital dredging of major and operational non major prots, Rs fifty crores for construction breakwaters for existing and greenfield ports.

Financial assistance will also provided for the preparation of Detailed Project Reports for the projects to be under considered under the scheme. The construction of passenger jetties also includes construction of terminal building and allied infrastructure. The balance expenditure has to be borne by the respective Ports, concerned state governments including State Maritime Boards from their own resources.

When all these coastal berth projects are completed, it will help to increase coastal shipping's share in domestic cargo movement in the country.Better infrastructure for coastal shipping will decongest rail and road network besides ensuring cost competitive and effective multi modal transporation solutions.The country has high potential to use coastal shipping for its internal cargo movement given its 7500 kilometer long coastline.

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