Odisha has potential to emerge as India's gateway to SE Asia: Patnaik

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Bhubaneswar, Apr 7 (PTI) Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Wednesday said Odisha has the potential of becoming India's gateway to South-East Asian countries.

Patnaik said this while chairing the first meeting of the State Sagarmala Committee. He said in addition to Odisha's strategic advantage of long coastline, the Sagarmala project can further enable Odisha to emerge as a major logistics destination.

The chief minister said that the port-led development through industrialisation and connectivity is a major focus of Sagarmala projects. The state will also be prioritising the coastal community development as an integrated part of this initiative, he said.

'We can become India's gateway to South East Asian countries,' Patnaik said, adding that Odisha has the advantage of being strategically located with a long coastline and a rich cultural heritage of maritime trade.

Apart from the Paradip Port, the state government has been facilitating the development of various ports all along Odisha's coastline, he said, adding that the State Maritime Board is expected to be fully functional in the coming months.

Hopefully, the Board will act as a catalyst for overall development of the maritime sector in the state.

He asked for close coordination with various departments and resolving the issues for timely completion of projects under Sagarmala. He urged all the departments concerned to prioritise these projects.

The state presently has three ports in operation at Paradip, Dhamra and Gopalpur. As many as four ports including Subarnarekha, Astharang, a riverine port at Kendrapada and Jatadhar Muhan Port are in the pipeline. This apart, there are 8 other potential locations for development of ports.

The Sagarmala Project has a vision for port led development across the coast of India. It aims at Port modernization, Port connectivity, Port led industrialization and Coastal community development. The projects under this programme will get 50 per cent funding from the Government of India, said Commerce and Transport secretary M S Padhi.

Under this programme, the state government has submitted 14 projects of various departments including Fisheries & ARD, Chilika Development Authority, Commerce and Transport and Works Department. Out of these only 2 projects of Commerce and Transport Department, Ro-Pax Jetty and Allied Infrastructure in Bhadrak, Kendrapada, Balugaon and Puri districts have been sanctioned by Government of India, he said.

Odisha's Commerce and Transport Minister Padmanav Behera said that the Sagarmala programme aims at Port led development and improvement of waterways. 'For the success of the programme, we need cooperation of Centre, State and local authorities,' he added.

Chief Secretary SC Mohapatra said that all departments need to prepare projects under the Government of India guidelines and maximize project approval.

IDCO CMD Sanjay Singh said 3 logistic park projects at Dhamra, Gopalpur and Subarnarekha are under preparation. The proposals will be sent soon. Other departments were asked to finalise projects under the Sagarmala project, he said. PTI AAM RG RG