New central schemes to support State Maritime Boards and the State Governments to combat oil spills, are nearing finalization.
Stating this at the 15th Meeting of the Maritime State Development Council at Bengaluru, the Union Minister of Shipping Shri G.K. Vasan said that the Ministry will soon issue guidelines to streamline the process of collection of Oil Cess which can be then used to assist ports to equip themselves for pollution mitigation.
He said, steps are also being taken to delegate powers to State Authorities for registration, survey and certification of fishing vessels. He said, the notification to delegate powers to State Maritime Boards to receive wrecks have been prepared and it will be issued soon. Assistance is also proposed to be provided in respect of capital dredging projects, the minister added.
Shri Vasan said that a recent important development is that the River sea vessels Rules have been amended to allow seamless movement of coastal vessels and powers have been delegated to the State Governments. The Director General of Lighthouses and Lightships has formulated a scheme to install VTMS in state-owned Non-Major Ports which handle substantial cargo. These two developments, he said are expected to boost Coastal trade and Coastal Shipping in the country.
The efforts of the Government to establish two new Major Ports – one at Sagar Island in West Bengal and the other at Dugarajpatnam in Andhra Pradesh are progressing well. In respect of establishment of Major Ports in other states, Shri Vasan said that a technical committee of the Ministry had studied the proposed locations in Kerala and Karnataka that is Azhikkal and Tadadi respectively and submitted its report to the State Governments for their consideration.
He said that he is happy to share with the nation that a landmark project to move three million tons of coal through Inland Waterways from Haldia to Farakka for NTPC thermal power plants is being implemented and trial runs are on. Another important development is that as a result of the persuasive efforts of the Ministry of Shipping capital dredging has been notified by the Department of Economic Affairs as an infrastructure subsector thus making capital dredging activities eligible for all the associated benefits, the minister added.
The Central Government has recently formed a Project Monitoring Group headed by an Additional Secretary which is monitoring implementation of all mega projects including those in the Port sector. Many non-Major Port projects which are facing bottlenecks are being pursued by this PMG in consultation with the Ministries and State Governments concerned. There are presently 13 such projects for which Ministry of Shipping is the sponsoring Ministry and all steps are being taken to ensure expeditious implementation of these projects, the minister said.
Press Release, November 18, 2013