Kochi | Asserting that the Central government would accord highest priority for development of waterways, Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari today said India needs to adopt new technologies to remain competitive and quality conscious.
Speaking at a function here after dedicating to the Nation ‘M V Corals’, an all weather passenger-cum-cargo vessel for Lakshadweep, and Lakshadweep Wharf here, the minister said it is time India became competitive and quality conscious.
Adopting new technologies and ensuring a corruption free system will create miracles, he said.
The minister said he was told that M V Corals, built at the Colombo Dockyard, and its sister ship M V Lagoons, also under construction there, were far superior and cost effective to the ships being built in the country.
Centre would give the highest priority for the development of waterways, he said and urged Kerala and Lakshadweep to harness its huge potential. Our government will give highest priority to this. In due course of time we will implement appropriate policy to improve Inland waterways, he said.
We are planning to manufacture light weight crafts, hovercrafts, catamarans which will help in increasing employment opportunities, he said.
The minister said the government was very much concerned about the problems being faced by the Union Territory and local MP P P Mohammed Faizal had met him several times raising the issues faced by the islanders.
M V Corals has a capacity to carry 400 passengers and cargo and has been built by M/S Colombo Dockyard of Sri Lanka at a cost of USD 29,260,000. The vessel has 10 first class cabin berths, 40 second class berths and 350 bunks and would be operated on the Kochi-Lakshadweep route.
Lakshadweep Administrator, H Rajesh Prasad, said the islands, with a population of about 65,000 people, which are located about 400 km from the mainland have to totally depend on shipping service for most of their needs.
M V Lagoons would be ready by February 2015. These two ships along with the existing fleet of vessels, would greatly ease the transportation problems of the islanders between mainland and the union territory, he said.
The dedicated wharf for Lakshadweep was constructed by Cochin port at a cost of Rs 37.52 crore from plans provided by Lakshadweep administration.
Former Union Minister, K V Thomas, Additional Shipping Secretary, Alok Srivastava, Chairmen of Cochin Shipyard and Cochin Port Trust were among those present.
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