(a) whether the Government has any plan to develop large and small ports of the country to boost shipping and fishing;

(b) if so, the steps taken by the Government in this regard;

(c) whether the recently launched Sethusamudram project would promote trade, coastal shipping and generate employment; and

(d) if so, the details thereof?

Answer given by the minister


(a) & (b) There are 12 major ports and 185 minor/intermediate ports in India. Under the Indian Ports Act, 1908, while responsibility for the development of the major ports vests with the Central Government, the State Governments have overall jurisdiction on other ports and are responsible for their development.

Development of major ports is an on-going process keeping in view the demands of maritime trade. Schemes/projects for development of the major ports are included in the Five Year Plans, which are indicative in nature. An outlay of Rs.4531.29 crore has been provided under the Tenth Plan for development of the major ports. In addition, private sector investment to the tune of Rs.11257 crore is also envisaged for development of major ports during the Tenth Plan period. The schemes for development of the major ports include deepening of channels to facilitate berthing of large size vessels, construction of new berths, upgradation/expansion of existing berths, modernization of cargo handling equipments through fresh procurement as also upgradation/replacement of existing equipments, improvement in storage capacities, upgradation of internal circulation systems for smooth cargo movement within the port area, improved rail and road connectivity to hinterland, etc.

Under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for development of Marine Fisheries, Infrastructure and Post Harvest Operations administered by the Ministry of Agriculture (Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries), central assistance is given for construction of minor fishing harbours, major fishing harbours and fish landing centres as also for repair and renovation/modernization of existing fishing harbours and fish landing centres. Coastal State Governments, Union Territories, Port Trusts and Fisherman Associations and Organisations are eligible, depending upon the nature of work involved, for assistance under the scheme. Extent of assistance, i.e. 50% / 100% of the project cost is dependent on the nature of work involved as also on the proponents of the project proposal. The Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries is interacting with the coastal State Governments as also major ports for implementing the scheme.

(c) & (d) Yes, Sir. Once the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project is completed, the channel will provide a shorter navigational route by saving upto 424 nautical miles of distance and upto 30 hours of sailing time for ships between east and west coasts. Reduction in maritime transportation cost due to saving in distance and time would promote international trade of the country as well as coastal movement of domestic cargo. The project will generate employment opportunities, direct and indirect, in the region.