Centre for international shipyards in East and West coast

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Panaji, Jan 7 (UNI) The Centre is actively considering setting up of at least one 'international size shipyard' at the East and the West coast of India, according to Union Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways T R Baalu.

''I have already taken up this issue with chief ministers of all the maritime states to send concrete proposals for setting up such a shipyard in their states,'' the Minister told the ninth meeting of the Maritime States' Development Council (MSDC) here today.

Mr Baalu said the Centre was also examining a proposal to set up 'Indian Maritime University' at Chennai under the umbrella of a Central Institution of Excellence for imparting international quality education in maritime sector.

He added the Centre was likely to draft a comprehensive National Cruise Shipping Policy soon in consultation with various agencies and stake holders involved. This is to meet the ever-increasing potential of cruise tourism and consequent development of infrastructure. It will come for consideration of the Cabinet, he said.

''Our focus should be on increasing the operational efficiency of our ports so, they are competitive and at par with other ports in the region and the world,'' Mr Baalu said.

He reiterated the need for introduction of modern cargo handling techniques to improve port performance, not just for container cargo but also for the dry, bulk and conventional cargo.

This requires adoption of proper policies and measures to deal with not only the ports' efficiency but also their productivity, manpower, planning, equipment and its performance.

Interacting with media persons later, the Minister said he would meet the Planning Commission of India and the Finance Minister in a week or ten days, seeking grant of incentives for entrepreneurs of new ports to facilitate additional cargo handling.

He added the MSDC meet had urged Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Orissa and Goa to set up their own maritime boards to facilitate investment and development decisions for further growth.

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