Maharashtra Makes Its Mark In Multimodal Connectivity

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], November 29: Maharashtra seems to have become synonymous with development and progress. The state has definitely made its mark in multimodal connectivity comprising roads, highways, expressways, railways, sea, and waterways. This shows how the state government led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Dy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is focused on what brings up multidimensional development across entire Maharashtra. It is in this context that Maharashtra’s maritime development policy is talk of the town. It is dominating discourse at the central level as well, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi keenly waiting for the Maharashtra government to implement the maritime development plans.

A couple of weeks ago, CM Shinde at an event announced that the much-awaited International Cruise Terminal (ICT) in Mumbai will be ready and made operational to handle cruisers from all over the world by 2024. He shared this information at the Global Maritime India Summit inaugurated by PM Modi two weeks ago. The plan is obviously huge. The ICT will have a capacity to handle 200 cruise ships and one million passengers per annum. In fact, in order to give a fillip to maritime tourism in Maharashtra, the state government has chalked out a five-year maritime policy offering incentives to business owners and tourists alike along with building various infrastructure projects. For the maritime tourism project to be reality, the state has worked on developing a huge infrastructure consisting of road networks.

Infrastructure for private ports is also being developed. The idea behind the maritime project is to boost tourism, shipbuilding, repair and recycling industries.  With CM Shinde in a hurry to implement this maritime policy, the Maharashtra government’s War Room has swung into action. The team in War Room is coordinating with the maritime experts and other concerned agencies including Maharashtra Maritime Board to fast-track this project. Land acquisition will also be a significant part of this project along the coastal areas where ship building and repairing capacity has to be enhanced. Veteran bureaucrat Radheshyam Mopalwar, War Room DG for Infra Projects, is said to be instrumental in implementation of this project as well. His competence in land related matters and other technical aspects of infra development is of great use for the government. The existing road networks attributable to Mopalwar’s hard work and guidance will be of great significance in implementation of maritime projects as tourism inflow could be augmented with strong road networks in place. Economic aspects of the upcoming maritime projects are being looked into by the officials in War Room led by Mopalwar. The incentives in the policy include land on lease for marinas. Financial factors related to leasing out of land are also being dealt with by the economic experts in War Room and Maharashtra Maritime Board. The incentives include land on lease for marinas, ship building-repairing, ship recycling facilities and concessions in tickets for floatels, amphibious buses, houseboats, seaplanes, and dinner cruise.

In addition to this, more road and rail infrastructure for private ports will be developed and streamlined. As a matter of fact, Maharashtra has huge maritime advantages. The state has a 720-km long coastline, two major ports, more than 14 major and intermediate ports and numerous bays. All of this contributes significantly to the growth of India’s maritime trade. The maritime development policy is learnt to have adopted a cluster-based approach to developing shipbuilding and ship repairing industries. Suitable locations are being ascertained for developing ship recycling facilities along the coastline. The policy proposes a 30-year lease for Marina projects, and 15-years for floatels, houseboats and seaplanes. With the maritime project of such a huge proportion in mind, CM Shinde has given the War Room a challenging task to coordinate and participate in entire planning with the relevant agencies responsible for this sector. The War Room will be a key agency to assist and monitor the activities aimed at developing infrastructure for the purpose of maritime projects. Ensuring smooth transportation by rail and road will also be a crucial area to be facilitated with active participation of the War Room.

CM Shinde has committed to resolve the various issues and expedite the implementation of the 114 projects worth Rs. 99,210 crore under the Sagarmala Programme in Maharashtra. This is another big task that the state agencies including War Room are looking after on a priority basis. ‘Coastal States Pavilion’ has been proposed to be developed in the National Maritime Heritage Complex. Accordingly for the state of Maharashtra, land area of 14,000 sq. ft. with construction area of 6,000- 8,000 sq. ft. has been identified in the periphery of the Coastal States Pavilion of the NMHC site. The Maharashtra State Government is expected to avail this opportunity and make a grand display of the Maritime History of the Maratha empire and Great Shivaji Maharaj.

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