PM Modi also renamed the Ministry of Shipping as the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said today, people of Gujarat have got their Diwali gift. Everyone will benefit from this better connectivity. He added that business will be boosted and connectivity will become faster. He further said RO-PAX service between Hazira and Ghogha has made dreams come true for the people of Saurashtra and South Gujarat, as the journey is shortened from 10-12 hours to 3-4 hours. He said this will save time and expenses will also be reduced. He said about 80000 passenger trains and 30000 trucks will be able to take advantage of this new service in a year.
Modi also said better connectivity between Saurashtra and Surat is going to change the life of the people in these regions. He added fruits, vegetables and milk can now easily be transported and pollution will also be reduced due to this service. He thanked all those engineers, workers, who remained courageous to develop the facility amidst a lot of challenges. He wished the people for this new maritime connectivity established between Bhavnagar and Surat.
The Prime Minister lauded the way Gujarat realized its maritime potential in the last two decades and gave priority to port-led development and said it is a matter of pride for every Gujarati. He listed the initiatives of the State Government in developing the maritime potential of the state like drafting a Shipbuilding policy, construction of Shipbuilding Park and Specialized Terminals, promotion of Vessel Traffic Management system and GroundBreaking Connectivity project. He said with these initiatives the port sector has got a new direction. He stressed that efforts were made to modernize the entire ecosystem of the coastal area in addition to developing the physical infrastructure.
The Prime Minister said today, Gujarat has become a gateway of prosperity due to the efforts of the government in ensuring the development of all types of infrastructure in the coastal area. He said over the past two decades, a unique model of the integrated port has evolved from traditional port operations in Gujarat and has developed as a benchmark today. He said the result of these efforts is that the ports of Gujarat have emerged as major maritime centers of the country. Last year, it accounted for more than 40 per cent of the country’s total maritime trade.
The Prime Minister said facilities like today’s Ro-Pax Ferry service or Sea Plane inaugurated a few days ago, is giving a lot of momentum to water-resource based economy. He said that over the years, serious efforts have also been made to strengthen the Blue Economy in the country. He listed the ecosystems and many schemes made over the years to help the fishermen like financial aid to fishermen for modern trollers or navigation systems that provide accurate information on weather and sea routes. He assured that the safety and prosperity of fishermen is the priority of the Government. He added recently launched Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana is also promoting fish related trade. Under this scheme, Rs 20 thousand crore would be spent for infrastructure related to fisheries in the coming years.
PM Modi also urged the people to go Vocal for Local during this festive season. He insisted on buying things from small traders, small artisans and rural folks. He said by these efforts light could be lit in the homes of the rural artisans also during Diwali.