Kolkata, (IANS) Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said there is a need to build indegenous ships and seaplanes to propel the growth of inland and coastal waterways.
“We need to develop the shipping industry and my ministry is in talks with the finance ministry to formulate the national shipbuilding policy,” the minister said in a event organised by the MCC Chamber of Commerce and Industry here.
He said besides the Cochin shipyard, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Guwahati have potential to strengthen the nation’s shipbuilding capabilities.
He said India needs to develop seaplanes on its own and build seafaring vessels.
“Even Maldives has 47 seaplanes,” he said.
The minister said he has asked the Cochin shipyard to build vessels similar to hovercrafts which can can move at a speed of 60 kmph.
“These will come in three variants – 30, 50 and 90 seaters”, he said.
Each of these vessels may cost less than Rs.60 crore.
“We also need to develop cruises,” he said.
Gadkari said he is hopeful that the legislation to convert 112 waterways as national waterways may be passed by the parliament in its winter session.
The World Bank has given India a loan of Rs. 4,200 crore to improve the waterways infrastructure.
“We’ll soon undertake several projects and spend nearly Rs. 2,400 crore for these projects”, he said.