New Delhi, Feb 22: The government is working on an ambitious plan to build one smart city each at the country's 12 major ports, at an estimated total investment of Rs 50,000 crore, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has said.
"Each port will construct one smart city. We are trying to do this. Each city will be built with an expenditure of about Rs 3,000-4,000 crore," said the Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping.
"These will be green smart cities. We are starting work on these in four to six months. You will see all these complete in five years," Gadkari told PTI in an interview.
The 12 major ports under central government's control have between them an estimated 2.64 lakh acres of land which is being mapped through satellites and are major resources with Shipping Ministry.
Mumbai Port Trust alone has about 753 hectares of land with it, valued at about Rs 46,000 crore.
"We are identifying our property through GPS system. We do not want to sell land to builders and developers. We will develop these," Gadkari said, adding that companies will be invited to construct houses there and private investment will be roped in.
Detailing the concept, he said these cities will be built as per international standards and have wide roads, green energy, advanced townships and greenery.
In addition, these smart cities and ports will have e-governance links, international standard facilities, special economic zones, ship breaking and ship building centres besides allied things, he said.
"Port water will be recycled. Port wastes will be turned into bio gas. Vehicles will run on bio fuel. Solar energy and wind power will be generated at ports. These cities will be pollution-free and very green smart cities. We are starting these," Gadkari said.
Besides, electric vehicles will run here and these smart cities would house schools, commercial complexes and other amenities, he added.
The 12 major ports in the country -- Kandla, Mumbai, JNPT, Marmugao, New Managlore, Cochin, Chennai, Ennore, V O Chidambarnar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia) -- handle approximately 61 per cent of cargo traffic.
Gadkari said his Ministry has plans to encourage setting up of some bio diesel plants at these ports, including Haldia, where bio diesel will be made from palm oil residue.
"India imports edible oil worth Rs 1 lakh crore annually and maximum oil is imported from Malaysia," he added. As part of its plan to revamp the country's top 12 ports, the Centre has already asked the ports to prepare land data base and development plans to achieve international operating standards.
The ports have also been asked to come up with a shelf of projects to augment their capacity to 1,600 million tonnes from the present about 800 million tonnes.