Arth-Ganga Project

Question by: Jayanta Kumar Roy, Sangeeta Kumari Singh Deo, Bhola Singh, Vinod Kumar Sonkar, Raja Amareshwara Naik, Sukanta Majumdar

  1. Whether the Government has proposed Arth-Ganga Project to channelize economic activity along the banks of Ganga river if so, the details thereof;
  2. Whether the Government is considering to corporatise at least one major port and subsequently its listing on the stock exchanges, if so, the details thereof;
  3. Whether the Government had decided that governance framework is in keeping with global benchmarks needed for more efficient sea-ports and if so, the details thereof;
  4. whether the Government has approved Major Port Authority Bill, 2020 to replace existing Major Port Trust Act to provide more operational autonomy to ports; and
  5. If so, the other steps being taken by the Government in this regard?

Answer by: Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Shipping (Shri Mansukh Mandaviya)

  • ‘Arth Ganga’ Project conceptualized by the Hon’ble Prime Minister aims to energize economic activities for uplifting living standard of people along the banks of river Ganga.
  • In so far as the Ministry of Shipping is concerned, the objectives of Arth Ganga have been aligned with the project development objectives of Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP), a flagship project undertaken by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) with the technical and financial assistance of the World Bank at an estimated revised cost of Rs. 4633.81 crore for the capacity augmentation of National Waterway-I (NW-I) from Varanasi to Haldia. The activities under Arth Ganga include development of floating community jetties, Ro-Ro and Ro-Pax jetties, river cruise & passenger ferry terminals on NW-1 with a total estimated cost of Rs. 746 crore. The project also aims at enhancing connectivity between local communities/ stakeholders and their small/ micro business located along the banks on NW-1 to the nearest urban and market centers through NW-1 with an overall objective of socio-economic development of the region.
  • It has been decided to develop Vadhavan Port on the coast of Maharashtra as India’s largest deep draft port on a ‘Landlord model’ by an SPV incorporated under Companies Act, 2013, with Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) as lead partner. The project proposal for investment is under preparation and detail study on Engineering and Environment Clearance would require some more time. The listing of the Vadhavan Port, if any, will be decided after approval of investment by Government of India.
  • The Major Ports Authorities Bill, 2020 introduced in the Lok Sabha on 12.03.2020 aims to replace the existing The Major Port Trusts Act, 1963 for providing more operational autonomy to ports and facilitate decision making. Under the proposed law, major ports would shift from the present service model to ‘Landlord model’. The Central Government approval on the activities of the major port is limited to select matters of policy, national interest and grave emergencies. The Board of the Port Authority would be compact to facilitate quick decision making. The Port Authority is empowered to fix its own Scale of Rates and PPP operators can determine their own tariffs under notified policies. An Adjudicatory Board shall adjudicate disputes between port and operators as well as on complaints of port users.

Source : Civil Services Chronicle Online, December, 2020