Wednesday, June 16, 2021
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Development of Ports

Everyone, whether qualified or not, wishes to develop land around the port but no one talks about developing the ports themselves. We hear that Ms Yadav, a retired IAS officer who was the Chairman of MbPT few years back, is heading a committee to develop the port trust land by constructing hotels etc. Someone should ask her what improvement did she bring about during her tenure?

I joined my last ship at Ennore port during the previous year. The road between Chennai and Ennore was in a horrible condition. We used to berth at Jindal jetty in Kandla and the main gate from here was quite far. I had written that a shuttle bus service should be introduced. I am not aware of the present status, but Kandla is an efficient port and it’s seamen club outside the port gate is very good. The person from club arrives at the ship, takes orders and delivers very good food at reasonable cost.

Last year we visited Mina Saqr (Meena Sagar) port where we noticed a fantastic all fiber glass constructed modern tug handling our ship. We must have such tugs with advanced maneuverability. Only the other day, I was reading about a boat from the harbour which lost its way and was heading towards open waters when some tech savvy youth guided the master through GPS on their phones. Why can’t the government improve the harbour craft and the Maharashtra Maritime board? No one bothered to find out if the inland master on the wheels really held such a certificate or not or was he merely a substitute.

The cargo handling gear at our ports need up gradation and good maintenance. Will the Ministry of Shipping inspect the current condition of MbPT workshop? In our country, the moment a scheme is announced, within minutes the experts spring up with their calling cards. Most of such experts have meager sailing experience. Reportedly, we are buying some LPG vessels from Japan for our coastal trade.

Minister of road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari should seek guidance from a retired Japanese operator of such vessels, with the assistance of their local government. You really must have some persons having hands-on experience on such vessels. We should visit Singapore and observe how they developed Marina Bay where people go for walking and jogging and a flotilla exists nearby. Persons accompanied by their dogs, carry a pouch in which they scoop the droppings of the pets in a very voluntary manner. Why can’t we have similar kind of facility at “Aamchi Mumbai” or why not a “Ramblas” which exist in Barcelona?

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