In order to encourage transportation of cargo through inland waterways, the state government plans to upgrade the existing private jetties. The government will prepare a detailed project report (DPR) about the project and submit it to the Centre so as to avail financial assistance under the Sagarmala initiative. Minister for Ports Michael Lobo, along with the industry delegation led by chairman of Dempo Industries Shrinivas Dempo met the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Thursday and discussed the proposal in detail. Talking to media persons after the meeting, the Minister for Ports said that the state government will seek Rs 100 crore from the Union Ministry of Shipping under the Sagarmala project so that existing private jetties can be upgraded and the state inland waterways can be used to get in the cargo, which will help decongest the roads. “This initiative will revive the dying barge business and allied industries, and also will help to generate employment in the state,” he said, adding the state government delegation led by the Chief Minister will go to New Delhi after January 25 to meet the Union Finance Minister and Shipping Minister.
Dempo along with former president of Goa Barge Owners’ Association Atul Jadhav and Aakash Khaunte was present during the meeting with the chief minister. Lobo further informed that except coal, other kinds of cargo like cement, plywood etc can be brought in the state from the other states, which is currently brought in Goa in trucks. “Under the proposed initiative, temporary infrastructure like floating jetties will be created in order to promote inland waterways tourism in the state,” he added. The Minister added that the government will appoint Economic Development Corporation (EDC) as agency to disburse the loans through central funding to the industry stakeholders for 7 years to build required infrastructure near jetties in private land. He also said that around 100-odd barges which are left unutilised after stoppage of mining industry in Goa can be upgraded to ferry the inter-state cargo under this initiative. Dempo said that the industry stakeholders have submitted a representation to the Chief Minister and the Minister for Ports seeking development of inland waterways to create infrastructure for logistic sector. “Port Minister Lobo was prompt and very keen in reviving the entire industrial sector through this particular initiative,” he added. Dempo further informed that the state government would prepare detailed project report (DPR) for ascertaining the viability of the facilities, only after which the central government would be approached for funding.