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Maharashtra to come out with new port policy by month end

imports, exports fall.

 Mumbai : Almost a decade after its rival Gujarat used its coastline to usher in port-led development, Maharashtra will come out with a comprehensive port policy shortly to give a leg-up to the long-neglected sector.

“By the end of the month, we will come up with a comprehensive port policy for the state,” Maharashtra additional chief secretary for ports Gautam Chatterjee told an industry gathering here today.

He said the policy will make the Maharashtra Maritime Board the single point of contact for all the port-related permissions, which will streamline the work for entrepreneurs who now have to go to various departments like revenue, urban development etc.

The policy will work towards a “port-led development in conjunction with the Sagaramla project” announced by the Centre, Chatterjee said.

The entire spectrum of water transport-based activities, including ports, jetties, shipping lines, shipyards, repair yards etc will be covered by the policy, the official added.

It also aims to streamline on the payments front, and seeks to ensure that multiplicity of payments for various taxes and cess are avoided, the official said.

Chatterjee declined to give further details of the policy and said the state cabinet is likely to clear the policy by the end of the month.

With over 720 km coastline, Maharashtra is home to a 10th of the total coastline of the country but it has only two major ports JNPT, MbPT in the city and a privately developed Jaigad Port in the south besides smaller ones.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has been pitching for port-led development.

After being the largest port in the country for decades, JNPT has been giving way to other privately developed ports such as Mundra (Adanis) and the state-run Kandla, both in Gujarat, while the once-premier Bombay Port is almost idling now with only some bulk cargo (coal and crude) and a meager auto shipments taking place from the port.

Against this, Gujarat has moved faster on this front, mirroring its industrialisation and today is home to three of the busiest ports — the Mundra and Kandla ports, which are the largest bulk terminals today while the Hazira Port of the Essar group is also doing brisk business.

It can be noted that Gujarat, which has less coastlines than Maharashtra, had effectively used its coastline to accelerate economic growth since the first decade of the century which focused on private sector investments and is now home to the largest sea port by cargo volumes at Mundra being operated by the Adani Group.

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