The news is by your side.

The Sagarmala Project and what it means for Goa?

0 18

PANAJI: Linked to the National Logistics Policy 2022, the Sagarmala project – a pet project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for a Blue Economy – focuses on waterways and port-led development in various States, with a view to increase overall exports and cut down substantially the cost of interstate and intrastate transportation of goods and materials in the country.

In the pursuit for a robust Blue Economy lies the core of the Sagarmala project that includes constructing new ports, cruise and passenger terminals, augmenting coastal infrastructure, developing inland waterways and passenger jetties, intensifying fishing and deep-sea fishing and creating special economic zones and tourism promotion by utilizing waterways and coastal infra for domestic and international tourism.

The Sagarmala project is a prestigious, national plan to exploit the full potential of India’s waterways and water bodies, again for intra and interstate transportation and logistical purposes as well as passenger transportation with a view to decongest the existing road and rail network and if utilized to its complete envisioned potential could be a turning point for India’s GDP, opines the CPIE India (Centre for Promoting Indian Economy).

The proposed scale of the Sagarmala project is gigantic and the consolidated plan proposes nearly 400 different projects along the Indian coastline and in various States at a huge cost of nearly ₹8 lakh crore in the next twenty years, out of which, Rs 70,000 crore will be spent only to develop and augment the major seaports in India.

India has 13 major and 200 minor and intermediate ports that power the domestic maritime trade and logistics network in the country.

Unfortunately for Goa, the Mormugao Port Authority (MPT) in its wisdom rejected four ambitious projects, stating that the same were “unfeasible”.

Local resistance by activists and NGOs was possibly the main reason behind the “rejection”.

Whether or not these projects would have benefitted Goa is a subject for academic discussion, but for now, it looks like all the four are scrapped.

The “unfeasible” projects include a Multiplex Terminal at Betul, Central harbour for iron ore and coal, berth and connecting flyer of the Indian Navy and Coast Guard at Vasco Bay and one more.

While the four scrapped projects may have been strongly opposed by locals, activists and politicians for various reasons, a dedicated berth at the MPT for cruise and passenger vessels will give Goa Tourism a major boost.

A new state-of-the-art international cruise terminal to handle domestic and international cruise operations is also part of the Sagarmala project for Goa, which will give a tremendous push to cruise tourism – both international and domestic, bringing in revenue for the State and employment opportunities for local Goans.

Further, under the aegis of the Captain of Ports, nine coastal passenger jetties are being redeveloped and renovated under the Sagarmala umbrella, which will improve the scope and utilization of waterways and local passenger transportation within the state.

For Goa, nine jetties at Aldona, Ribandar, Old Goa, Piligao, Banastarim, Rassaim, Durbhat, Shiroda and Sanvordem are to be renovated and refurbished, as well as four floating jetties are to be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 100 crore and initial funds have already been sanctioned for the first phase.

In 2016, the Central government declared the Mandovi, Chapora, Zuari, Sal, Cumbharjua and Mapusa rivers as National Waterways and the reconstruction of jetties along the 3 rivers – Mandovi (Ribandar, Old Goa, Pilgao, Banastarim), Mapusa river (Aldona) and Zuari River (Rassaim, Durbhat, Shiroda and Sanvordem) is already in motion.

Some forward thinking town planners and politicians in the coastal state assert that with a view to tackle the passenger transportation and logistical needs of Goa, another 100 jetties are required in the next 20 years, a view that is opposed by environmentalists and activists who claim that such major infra development will damage the village ecosystems making them into mini concrete cities.

While the existing road network within the coastal state is reaching its maximum potential and carrying capacity, the development of inland waterways for clean, pollution-free passenger transportation is a crying need.

According to the CPIE India,  the development and exploitation of waterways and rivers within Goa for passenger and goods transportation with solar and green technology will ease traffic jams and congestion on State highways and even city roads by as much as 30 percent, not to forget put a brake on the increasing air pollution, which is a deterrent to foreign tourists who consider the increasing air, water, coastal and soil pollution in Goa a major spoiler to their holiday plans.

Goa Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant has been quoted as saying, “Goa’s share in India’s exports can rise with the seaplane, waterway transport and small aircraft and helicopter operations to enhance domestic tourism and logistics and expand the scope of tourism and economic opportunities for doing business in Goa with further port-led and waterways development, which are all part of the Sagarmala Project.”

The CM has reiterated on several occasions that the Goa government is committed to developing only industries and projects that do not lead to air, water, soil and sea pollution – something that the Sagarmala project aims to promote.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.