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Logistics Parks being set up in Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Vijaywada, Surat and Guwahati

Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari has reiterated the government’s commitment to provide world class transport and logistics infrastructure in the country within two years to support the growth of economic activity.

The Minister was addressing a session on Opportunity in Infrastructure, Logistics Technology and Equipment at the World Food India 2017 conference in New Delhi last week.

Mr Gadkari said that the rate of construction of National Highways has gathered considerable momentum. The country had just 96,000 km of NH three years back, but this has grown to nearly 1.7 lakh km, and will soon reach a length of 2 lakh km. This will provide more farmers in remote areas with access to markets for their produce.

The Minister further said that 44 Economic Corridors and 24 Multimodal Logistics Parks have been planned under the government’s flagship programme Bharatmala. These would be based on the hub-and-spoke model to facilitate efficient movement of freight along routes of economic importance. The Multimodal Logistics Parks are being planned as centres of freight aggregation with warehousing, cold storage and other such facilities. These parks will be built on NH outside cities, so they will help reduce traffic congestion and also reduce pollution.

Mr Gadkari said that work has already begun for setting up logistics parks in Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Vijaywada, Surat and Guwahati. The Economic Corridors and Multimodal Logistics Parks will facilitate faster movement of farm produce to food processing centres and to markets. This will raise the income of farmers, give a boost to the food processing industry and create a large number of jobs.

The Sagarmala Programme of the Shipping Ministry will also be contributing to the growth of the country’s food economy in a big way. 14 Coastal Economic Zones have been planned under this programme. Two mega food processing parks are being planned at Kakinada and Satara at a cost of Rs 140 crore.

Support is being given to fishermen under the programme to develop their skills and raise their productivity. Facilities for processing, grading and packaging of fish will be developed at Paradip Port.

In addition, 111 waterways are being developed as National Waterways. River Ganga, Brahmaputra, Barak are already under development. Water transport will reduce logistics costs, which, in turn, will benefit the food processing industry. The development of rivers Ganga and Brahmaputra for transport will also make it easier to move Indian produce to Bangladesh.

Further, the efficiency of the 12 Major Ports has been growing rapidly, and they have been making profits consistently over the last three years. Dry ports are being developed at Jalna, Vidarbha and Nashik to begin with. The availability of ports will give a boost to the movement of goods, the Minister pointed out.

Besides developing road and water transport infrastructure, Mr Gadkari informed that the government is also giving priority to developing micro or drip irrigation in the water-deficient regions of the country. 13 river linking projects are also on the anvil, of which three will be done within three months. All these projects will improve the availability and utilisation of water and raise agricultural productivity, he added.


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