Mumbai: Union shipping minister Nitin Gadkari today said the nation's largest container port, JNPT, will pick up 70 per cent stake in the proposed Rs 8,000-crore Indore-Manmad railway line being built by his ministry as part of developing dry ports.
The minister last December had announced the project, which is part of de-congesting the clogged Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) and also to connect neighbouring Kasara in Thane district and JNPT directly.
To reduce the container traffic passing through Mumbai and its suburbs, the ministry has asked for land near Vasai on the outskirts, from where the containers can be sent directly on barges to JNPT via the waterways, he said.
"We will be building the Rs 8,000-crore Indore-Manmad railway line. JNPT will hold 70 per cent equity in the project," Gadkari told reporters at the JNPT, without giving further details.
He said the proposed railway line can connect and develop further the landlocked industrial hub of Indore and Manmad in Maharashtra, which then can also be connected to main Delhi-Bengaluru and Delhi-Chennai lines, which will also bring down travel time and distance.
The ministry is also developing four dry ports in Maharashtra to de-clog JNPT. Such facilities will come up at Wardha on the central eastern region of the state, Jalna in the central region, Wadhavan port on the east coast north of Mumbai and Nashik in north of the financial capital.
He said the Nashik facility can be used for exim trade in fruits, particularly grapes and vegetables like onions, apart from automobiles as Mahindra has a large facility there which currently uses the Mumbai port for exports.
"I don't see any reason why Mahindra's shipments cannot be loaded from Nashik," he said.
Gadkari also said he is toying with the idea of connecting the rivers and waterways in and around Mumbai in a Rs 2,000-crore project involving the state administration, JNPT and the Thane municipality under the Sagarmala project.