Wednesday 26 September 2018

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Infrastructure | Ports

MPT plans ambitious expansion

 

Mormugao, Asia's one of the oldest harbour, is slated to be another major port on the western coast of the country, with ambitious expansion plans of the Mormugao Port Trust.

Plans on anvil is reclamation of two adjacent bays - Vasco and Baina, increasing the existing area of 250 acres in four folds, envisaging port requirement of the next five decades.

Sudden rise in cargo movement at this comparatively less-congested port than Mumbai and Mangalore is expected, also due to the commissioning of the Konkan railway from 26 January on the western coast.

The port, built during Portuguese regime, and then developed by the MPT to primarily export Goa's iron ore, is now awaiting further plans of converting it into a multi-purpose port.

A feasibility report of the Frederick Harris, the Netherlands-based firm, on economic, technological and environmental aspects is expected by May end.

"It would boost the port activity tremendously once the plans come true", states confidently Dr Jose Paul, the MPT chairman, while also assuring reclamation without disturbing human settlements and ecological balance.

Rough estimates have already been prepared for reclamation of the Vasco bay, which would be basically extension of the existing port area by 700 acres more, involving investment of around Rs 500 crore.

The report however is awaited mainly because of the reclamation plans in the Baina bay, which also includes port town's Baina beach, famous for Goa's prime red light area, besides fishing community residing there.

The local Congress government however has already started evicting the sex workers' settlement on the Baina beach. The controversy has presently drawn attention of the National Human Rights Commission as well as the National Women's Commission.

No estimates are prepared yet, says Dr Paul, though the plan is to reclaim at least half of the area of the size of Vasco bay. This area, little away from the main port, would exclusively handle all sorts of liquid cargo.

The MPT has also finalised plans for a four-lane national highway from the harbour, which would pass through the Baina beach area, linking it to the NH 17 at Verna Electronic City. The plan is to also construct a fishing jetty for the benefit of the fishermen, to be affected due to Vasco bay reclamation.

"It would cost Rs 35 crore and even the draft MoU is ready. We are waiting for the ministry's approval", informs Dr Paul. He is also negotiating with the commerce ministry to bear half of its expenditure burden, while ministry has agreed for 25 per cent.






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