New Delhi: Union minister for ports, shipping and waterways  Sarbananda Sonowal chaired the ‘Chintan Baithak’ of the ministry, here on Thursday’. The baithak was attended by all the senior officials of the Ministry along with Chairpersons of all Major Ports and top officials of the other organization under Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW). The agenda of this meeting was to know the status of various initiatives and programs of the Government of India like Asset Monetization; National Infrastructure Pipeline; implementation of the innovative projects identified by each port during the previous Chintan Baithaks; automation of all weighbridges in ports and to know the status of capital expenditure during this fiscal. During the meeting Shri Sonowal highlighted the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to develop and promote the Blue Economy.

It was discussed that ministry should achieve the Capital Expenditure targets so as to meet the overall expenditure targets of the government. All major ports should also lay special emphasis on optimum utilization of their available land and should prepare a futuristic development plan to cater the forthcoming needs of this business and prepare them for the future requirements and investments.

It was also deliberated during the meeting that as all the Ports have taken a number of initiatives to promote green ecosystem in maritime sector, the emphasis should be on promoting Green Shipping and reducing the carbon footprint from the port operations. The various green port initiatives include developing shore reception facility for wastes from ships, setting up projects for energy generation from renewable energy sources, providing shore power to ships at berths, creating Oil Spill Response (Tier-1) capabilities at all ports, inclusion of sustainable practices in terminal design, development and operation, increasing green cover within port premises etc. 

During the meeting  Shri Sonowal said that, ‘the extensive discussions during this Chintan Meeting are linked with the Maritime Vision 2030 and Vision document 2047 to fulfil the  Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘ Atmanirbhar Bharat’ with his key mantra of ‘Reform, Perform & Transform’. He also expressed that “As we aim for setting-up of world-class infrastructure facilities at ports, the performance of our ports are improving.  This will go a long way in preparing the roadmap for smooth & swift implementation of our plan to develop & modernize our ports and implement the Port Led Development vision of our  Prime Minister.

He reviewed the progress of the various projects of each Major port, discussed during the previous Chintan Baithak and directed all port authorities to keep an eye on the ongoing projects at the ports for timely delivery. 

Shri Sonowal emphasized that “Our role as a ministry of ports, shipping and waterways, should be to empower and enable conduits through which these economic transformations can be achieved. Through this Chintan Baithak, the best minds of maritime sector have come together so that all of us can deliberate, discuss and decide various challenges and opportunities”.

Talking about special campaign from 2nd October to 31 October, the minister said, we should put all our efforts in supporting Swachh Bharat Abhiyan initiated by PM. In this line we should keep port surroundings neat and clean as ‘jahan swacchta, wahan prabhuta’. He added, pending matters should be disposed-off during this special campaign. He said, he will also appoint a committee to keep a check on Swachhta Abhiyaan. 

A detailed discussion on GeM procurement was also made during this Chintan Baithak. Senior officials shared their concerns and suggestions regarding purchase from GeM platform on which minister added that, ‘we will submit a proposal, so that GeM becomes seamless and more inclusive’.