The Sagar Mala Project: Initiative aiming towards development of ports

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Shreya Durve
A doctor in the dust

Our country is such a beauty, isn’t it? We have everything we could ask for on this small land, yet it is so underestimated. The most underestimated beauty of our country is it’s water bodies- surrounding Mother India.

What was earlier just a place to take a date to, the waters have become one of the most important ways of import and export making up a huge part of our economy. Development of the ports has hence been an area of interest among many governing bodies. This will not only improve the economy but also the appeal of the country as a whole.

The government has tried to think of various ways to utilise this part of the country to the fullest. And now they have decided to start a scheme to help achieve this goal called the “Sagar Mala Project”

This article will highlight the details on the “sagar Mala Project” and how it has benefitted.

What is the “Sagar Mala Project”?

The Sagar Mala Project is an initiative by the Government of India aimed at improving the logistics sector of our country. This is going to be done by improving the waterways and coastline as means of communication for import and export.

This goal is to be achieved through building Coastal Economic Zones (CEZ) and Coastal Employment Units. A total of 14 CEZs are to be built under the scheme.

The Sagar Mala Development companies were started to supplement the project and improve efficiency. The idea was first played around with in 2003 under the governance of Atul Bihari Vajpayee. It was finally approved in the 2015.

The Sagar Mala Project aim

The project is aimed at improved port to port connectivity. By the end of the project, it is estimated to increase the merchandise export profit by 110 million dollars and generate millions of new job opportunities by the newly developed ports. It is aimed at improving the existing ports to a world class quality and helping them gain the popularity as a communication system between different lands.

Components of the scheme

  1. Port modernisation and new port development
  2. Improve port to port connectivity
  3. Improving the economic industrialisation linked to the development of ports
  4. Portal zone community improvement

Port modernisation and development of new ports

The current cargo handling capacity of most Indian Ports is 1500 MMTP and the Sagar Mala project studies showed that they can reach a target of 3500 MMTP by 2025. Besides the modernisation to accommodate more capacity, 6 new Megaports were aimed to be built under the project. These ports were to be built in the following places:

  1. Sagar island
  2. Paradip outer Harbour
  3. Sirkhazi
  4.   Kanniyakumari
  5. Belikeri
  6. Vadhavan

All of these are still under construction.

Improving port to port connectivity

Improving port to port connectivity will widen the horizons for the import export business in our country. Over 210 projects to improve this have been employed:

  1. Coastal berths
  2. National waterways
  3. Heavy haul rail corridor from Talcher to Paradip
  4. Last mile rail and road connectivity
  5. Freight friendly expressway projects
  6. POL pipelines

And many more….

Port linked industrialisation

This is to be done via the development of CEZs and CEUs. Around 14 CEZs are to be developed under the project making use of the Make in India scheme. Each CEZ will have several CEUs to improve the employment status. This will not only help the primary aim of improving port quality but also give job opportunities and help with the problem of poverty. The CEZs proposed under the scheme are:

  1. Kachcha CEZ
  2. Saurashtra CEZ
  3. Suryapur CEZ
  4. North and south Konkan CEZ  
  5. Dakshin Kanara CEZ
  6. Malabar CEZ
  7. Mannar CEZ
  8. Poompuhar CEZ
  9. VCIC north, central and south CEZ
  10. Kalinga CEZ
  11. Gaud CEZ

Portal zone community improvement

This is done by developing the skills of the workers around the area and improving tourist attraction of these places. The lives of the people living around this area are being improved by not only skill development and better job opportunities, but also the development of technology. Multiple skill development centres with state of the art equipment have been constructed.

This program is also funding the development of fisheries which provide a lot of jobs for local population and also forms a big part of the economy. These funds are in collaboration with the Department of Animal Husbandry.

 In partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, the following steps are being taken to improve the attraction of such places:

  1. Coastal circuits
  2. Promoting cruise tourism
  3. Lighthouse development
  4. National maritime museum heritage complex at Lothal
  5. Underwater viewing gallery and restaurant at Dwarka

Benefits

  1. Beautification of the porta across India
  2. Improve the economy of the country
  3. Improve the efficiency of foreign trade
  4. Alleviate the problem of limited jobs by providing multiple job opportunities
  5. Improving connectivity

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