Stressing on the development of inland waterways, union Shipping, Highways and Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari Wednesday cleared the Sagar deep sea port and Haldia Dock 2 projects for West Bengal as well as a highway project linking Kolkata and Siliguri."Today...the important project from Kolkata to Siliguri has been given all type of permission and financial sanction for the project and we will complete that," Gadkari said at the Bengal Global Business Summit here."We have already taken some decisions related to the ports - Rs.12,000 crore for Sagar port, then we have already taken a decision to start Haldia Dock 2 (at a cost) of Rs.1,200 crore, and we'll start this work at the end of February."
The project cost of Sagar port is estimated at Rs.12,000 crore, the Haldia Dock 2 at Rs.1,200 crore and the Kolkata-Siliguri highway is worth Rs.4,500 crore.Also, the floating storage and regasification unit with an approximate valuation of Rs.1,200 crore near the proposed Deep Sea Port has been sanctioned. The unit will route the mined gas to the Haldia port from which it will be distributed across India and Bangladesh."By pipeline they will take this gas to Haldia and it can go to India and Bangladesh. This project also has been sanctioned," the minister said.The Kolkata Municipal Development Authority has also signed a Rs.300 crore deal with Kolkata Port Trust for Kolkata Eye - modeled on the lines of the famous giant Ferris wheel in London.
The project will be entirely funded by West Bengal and the construction project has been given to a British company.Besides, the World Bank is financing the construction of a 13-terminal inland waterway, linking Varanasi and Haldia. The World Bank has provided Rs.4,200 crore for the project, work on which will start within two months, the minister said.Gadkari said the waterway will change the economy of Bengal."In China, 44 percent of goods traffic is on water and in India it is only 3.3 percent. So we have already decided to give a priority to the waterways," he said.The highways and road constructions department is also adopting modern technologies and based on the Rotterdam and Belgian tunnels, is considering 4-km tunnel based on push-back technology which increases the utility of tunnels.However, Gadkari said inland waterways and ports top the agenda and the Centre is interested to modernise big ports."We are very much interested as far as big ports like Sagar port are concerned," he said.