Gujarat, according to Union Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, is one of the world’s most popular maritime destinations and the gateway to India’s corporate world. Speaking at the International Conference on Green Ship Recycling and Vehicle Scrapping in Gandhinagar today, he said, ‘Gujarat, which has a 1,600 km-long coastline, contributes 18% of all cargo moved by coastal shipping and handles over 40% of the country’s cargo flow. He claimed that Gujarat, the nation’s first state to privatize the port industry, has emerged as the poster child for India’s maritime success story as a result of its advantageous location, proactive policies, and strong infrastructure.’
According to Shri Sonowal, Gujarat and the nation as a whole would experience increased economic prosperity as a result of the projected doubling of the capacity of the Alang-Sosiya shipyard in Gujarat, which is a major location for ship recycling.
With initiatives like port modernization, rail, road, cruise tourism, RO-RO & passenger jetties, fisheries, coastal infrastructure, skill development, etc., the Sagarmala Programme, according to Shri Sonowal, has boosted Gujarat’s burgeoning maritime sector. According to him, Gujarat’s Sagarmala Program has 74 projects totaling Rs. 57,000 crores, of which 15 projects worth Rs. 9,000 crores have been finished, 33 projects worth over Rs. 25,000 crore are being implemented, and 26 projects worth Rs. 22,700 crore are in the planning stages.
Speaking on the occasion Chief Minister Shri Bhupendra Bhai Patel said under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gujarat is now moving towards port-led development. The Gujarat government is committed to making Gujarat a global centre for green recycling. He said the state is home to Alang, the largest ship-breaking yard in the world.
The International Conference on Green Ship Recycling and Vehicle Scrapping is showcasing the current status of the ship recycling industry in Gujarat. MK Das, Additional Chief Secretary of Ports and Transport Department, Government of Gujarat, said the conference will put Alang on the global map as a preferred destination for sustainable ship recycling that has safe and environmentally sound ship recycling best practices in place. The conference is also facilitating discussion on how the EU shipping industry can take advantage of ship recycling facilities in Gujarat, and explore partnerships with EU member countries.
Two sessions were also organized as a part of the conference. The first session on “Ship Recycling Industry in India and Compliances” focused on the Ship Recycling Act, the role of GMB, compliance with HKC and EU Ship Recycling Regulation (EUSRR), and safe and sustainable recycling.
The second session covered the vehicle scrap policy and provided a general overview of it. It also demonstrated Alang’s potential as a centre for auto recycling.
The conference was followed by a visit to the Alang ship breaking yard on September 13. Shri Sonowal also visited the site of the proposed National Maritime Heritage Complex near Lothal. The project is being developed by the Government of India through MoPSW for an estimated Rs.3500 crore. He reviewed the progress of the project in presence of senior officers of the Government of Gujarat and the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways. The proposed Complex would showcase India’s rich and diverse maritime heritage and will be the first of its kind in the country and one of the world’s largest maritime museums dedicated to the legacy of the maritime heritage of India.
The project would increase tourism in Gujarat, which will help to grow the local economy and that of the surrounding villages of Saragwala and Utelia. The six galleries that are being considered as part of the NMHC project will provide visitors with a closer look at various eras in Maritime history.
Speaking after the visit, Shri Sonowal said that, as part of the Sagarmala program of the Ministry of Shipping, the project will be built as a new worldwide tourist attraction and compete with other well-known international museums of the world. He added that it will give local residents the chance to find jobs and assist them in the development of a number of cottage enterprises, realizing Prime Minister Modi’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat.