Bhubaneswar, June 10 (IANS) Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari on Friday said Paradip port’s cargo handling capacity would be increased to 325 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) by 2025.
“The production of Paradip port would be increased three-fold by 2025. Work is going on to achieve the target,” Gadkari told media persons here.
He said Paradip port will be the growth engine of eastern India. He also said the government is taking steps to increase the coal production of Mahanadi Coal Fields Ltd (MCL) from 60 million tonnes (mt) to 300 mt. “The coal would be transported through waterways to other states including Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. In return, the ships would bring lime stones for steel projects,” said the Minister.
If coal is transported through waterways, electricity charges would cost Rs one less per unit, he added. He also said infrastructure is being developed for the smooth transportation of coal.
Gadkari said the government is committed to bring down the high logistics cost to 12 per cent and raise the share of waterways transportation to 15 per cent in coming years. He said the country’s logistics cost is 18 per cent presently.
The minister said the government is also giving priority for development of national highways. “We are giving priority to Odisha. We have already created 1,300km NH while we will try to increase it to 2,000 km,” said the minister.
Replying to the allegations that several illegal toll gates have been erected in the state, he said there are no illegal toll gates in the state. “The Odisha Chief Secretary has already made it clear that there are no illegal toll gates in the state,” he added.