KOLHAPUR: The Indian Maritime University has decided to set up its sub-centre in Ratnagiri. The sub-centre will issue naval certification and training to the staff working at the existing and upcoming ports across the costal line of the state.
There are 4-5 major ports in the Konkan region, while three more are in the pipeline. With the announcement, the industrial bodies and port development companies have started building pressure for laying fresh railway line between Kolhapur and Vaibhavwadi to boost the trade practices. JSW Infrastructure Ltd., which is developing the Jaigarh port, has recently signed an MoU with Konkan Railways to lay 28-km line from Jaigarh port to Digni railway station at a cost of Rs 775 crore. Of the total construction cost, Rs 700 crore (or 66%) will be borne by JSW Infrastructure.
Sources in the state revenue ministry confirmed that they have been asked to scout for some land near Ratnagiri to set up a sub-centre of the Chennai-based Indian Maritime University to support the upcoming and existing ports.
The Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) looks after the ports in the state and provides sanctions.
Arun Saxena, chief port officer of MMB, who told TOI over phone from Mumbai, "The MMB is promoting private players to set up and develop ports so that they can handle large cargos and contribute to the overall growth the state-based industries. Setting up of the sub-centre at Ratnagiri is an integral part of the plan and it will play an important role for the ports in the state."
About laying the railway line from the port to Digni station, he said, "Any port requires efficient mode of transportation as it handles cargo in huge quantity. Several importers and exporters will be benefited once they get railway connectivity as handling of material will be easier."
The construction of the railway is expected to be completed within three years period, the official said. The port is currently handling around 6-7 million tonnes of cargo. It is expanding its capacity to handle 50 million tonnes of cargo once it is fully operational.
Vilas Patane, executive chairman of Ratnagiri Education Society, said, "Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari had visited Ratnagiri a couple of weeks ago to attend a function. He has asked us to support the upcoming sub-centre, which is being set up to support the ports and naval movements. The decision is going to be a milestone in the development of the region. Frequent trainings, issuing of various certification, refreshment courses and port-related developments will be routed through the sub-centre. Besides, several sophisticated jobs will be created in the region, which is known for large scale migration."
"There are six ports coming up on the west coast, but they need good connectivity. The existing road connectivity is insufficient. All the existing and upcoming ports should be connected with railway routes so that large scale cargo handling is easier and economically viable. The Konkan Railways, running across the west coast, is still not connected with Kolhapur. If Kolhapur to Vaibhavwadi railway connectivity is provided, all these ports and the cargo reaching here can be transported towards central India via Kolhapur," Patane said.
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