18 Oct : The Union Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways, Thiru T.R. Baalu has said that the Union Government is committed to improve the infrastructure of the country to meet the growing needs of the economy.
Presiding over the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ennore Port Ltd and Nissan Motor (India) Pvt Ltd for export of Cars through Ennore Port in Chennai today, Thiru Baalu said that the country’s economy is poised to take a great leap and to give the economy a big boost, Government has planned to give an impetus to infrastructure development.
He said that over Rs. 20,00,000 crore (20 lakh crore) would be invested during the five years of 11th five year plan for the infrastructure development out of a total investment of over Rs. 36,00,000 crore (36 lakh crore) which is 56.4% of the total investment.
Thiru Baalu said that the Department of Shipping has launched the National Maritime Development Policy (NMDP), which has put the port sector in India in an overdrive mode during the past 4 years. He said that the capacity of major ports stood at 384.5 million tonnes in March 2004 and it has leaped forward to 532 million tonnes as on March 2008, representing a 36% growth in capacity in the last four years. Likewise, the traffic through the major ports went up from 344.79 million tonnes in 2003-04 to 519.23 million tonnes in 2007-08, registering an impressive growth of 51%, the Minister added.
He informed that the NMDP comprises of 387 projects involving a total investment of Rs.1,00,339 crores (approximately US $ 21 billion). Out of this, Rs.55,804 crores (approximately US $ 12 billion) is for the Port sector and the balance Rs.44,535 crores (approximately US $ 9 billion) is for the Shipping and Inland Waterway Transport sectors with the target of completion by 2011-12. Thiru Baalu said that Tamil Nadu’s Gross State Domestic Product (GDP) for 2007 is estimated at Rs.2,75,000 crore which comes to 9.50% per year and which is in line with the national growth of 9.08%. He said that keeping in view the pace of development in the State in last few years, as also the glorious maritime history, a total of Rs.13,284 crores has been allocated by the Department of Shipping, Government of India to Tamil Nadu for the development of the three major ports, namely, Ennore, Chennai and Tuticorin. This translates to around 23.80% of the total NMDP investments. Of this, Ennore Port’s share at Rs.6,466 crores alone is nearly half of that for Tamil Nadu at 11.59% of the NMPD allocation for the 12 Major Ports.
Commending the performance of the Ennore Port, which is the first corporate port of the country, the Minister said that though youngest, the Port has embarked on the ambitious programme under Phase-I of the NMDP to develop various projects at an estimated cost of Rs.2,700 crore. The total investment by private partners through the BOT projects is around Rs.1100 crore and apart from this, the Ennore Port is investing Rs.300 crore in connectivity and harbour deepening projects, the Minister informed.
He also commended the Ennore Port for taking up the major initiative to facilitate export of Cars in pursuit of which, the EPL and Nissan Motor (India) have signed an MOU today. He hoped that the project would be completed on time and the export of cars would commence immediately after commissioning of the Nissan’s upcoming Car Plant at Oragadam, near Chennai.
Thiru Baalu added that Ennore Port along with Chennai Port would be a catalyst in making Chennai the Detroit of Asia by facilitating seamless exports and imports, and it would be the Engine of industrial and economic development of not only Tamil Nadu but also its hinterland in the other Southern States.