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Ro-Ro ferry and now ship recycling: union government sent a clear message to Gujarat Maritime Board

Bhavnagar :

Union shipping ministry earlier has withdrawn all the powers for Ro-Pax ferry service from Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB), and now they need to notify the Director-General of Shipping because of the national authority for recycling of ships.

These are clear message to GMB that they’re not working as per the expectations of Prime Minister of India and working style within GMB ruins many projects associated with water.

Prime minister of India Narendra Modi when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat state said while foundation laying ceremony for Ghogha-Dahej Ro-Pax Ferry service on 25th January 2012 that this is his dream project and can be proven as game-changer for entire Saurashtra and South Gujarat Region.

But as per the sources placed in GMB opined that, Dahej site was wrongly selected, because it was on the bank of Narmada river, and large quantity of sand, muds filling jetty are of Ro-Pax project per annum.

Bracket Rankin of London has administered pre-feasibility report for Ferry service and in their DPR, they need to set top priority for Ghogha-Suvali (Hajira) project. But some people within GMB with mollified intense ignored the advice of Bracket Rankin and allotted Dahej rather than Suvali.

Ex FGM Capt Sugvekar opined that Suvali have natural draft of around 10 meters altogether weather, whereas Dahej’s site selected was faulty and each year Narmada river send huge quantity of muds and sand.

And also Dahej was nearly 120 k.m. far away from South Gujarat’s main city Surat. Transportation facilities at Dahej is additionally at lower side because it is found in remote place.

Despite those all realities known by topmost state maritime agency GMB, they need to select Dahej. With the entire expense of Rupees 70 million Ghogha-Dahej Passenger ferry service began by Prime Minister of India with many hopes in October-2017.

In December-2017 ferry was suspended on account of low tide at Dahej. GMB has given the contract for dredging at Dahej and in October-2018 Ro-Pax ferry service was inaugurated by the chief minister of Gujarat.

Again, dredging issue hurdled ferry service, but with high water tide ferry was completing, and it had been running untimely. From September-2019 Ro-Pax ferry service was totally closed down as Ship wasn’t receiving necessary draft at Dahej. Union shipping ministry has studied all the items and failure of the project of Ghogha-Dahej ferry service.

Very active and knowledgeable shipping minister Dr.Mansukh Mandaviya withdrawn project from GMB and handed over to Dindayal Port Trust (DPT) Kandla (Union government’s unit). DPT has allotted project of Hajira Ro-Pax ferry terminal, pontoon, linkspan and other facilities to Adani Group, and project is now ready and can be inaugurated on 31st October.

Ghogha-Hajira Ro-Pax ferry is going to be a game-changer for entire Saurashtra and South Gujarat Region. This ferry will take 4 hours in sea transportation for 67 sea nautical miles, whereas on the road transportation normally it takes 7 hours. Ferry ship Voyage Symphony has the capacity to handle 500 passengers, 80 Trucks, Buses, small cargo vehicle, cars.

Similarly, Ship recycling yards of Alang also handled by GMB, but many hurdles and after existence of 37 years of this ship breaking yard, 153 ship recycling plots working, and 22 plots with GMB in non-working condition or in legal battle. Stack owners with their financial funding has converted their yards into class certification, and almost complied HKC.

Union shipping minister Mandaviya again came in action and withdrawn most of the powers regarding ship recycling units at Alang from GMB and handed over to Director General of Shipping because the national authority for recycling of ships under the Recycling of Ships Act, 2019.

The national authority of ship recycling are going to be found out in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The situation of the office will benefit the ship recycling yard owners situated in Alang, Gujarat which is home to the most important ship recycling industry within the world.

DG Shipping is permitted to administer, supervise and monitor all activities concerning ship recycling within the country, a government statement said. DG Shipping will oversee the sustainable development of the ship recycling industry, monitoring the compliance to environment-friendly norms and safety and health measures for the stakeholders.

DG Shipping are going to be the ultimate authority for the varied approvals required by the ship-recycling yard owners and state governments. Under the Ship Recycling Act, 2019, India has acceded to the ‘Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships’ adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

With the Ro-Pax ferry project and Alang ship recycling industry Union government has sent clear message to GMB that they’re not satisfied with their duties. Gujarat has 1600 k.m. coastal area out of 7500 k.m. coastal area of India.

GMB runs 10 ports with their direct capacity and 44 captive jetties, 11 private jetties, and a few private ports. 10 ports of GMB found in poor condition, lacking of unfractured facilities, fire fighting equipment, internal roads, jetties, lock gate and lots of more.

With tiny facilities also traders load-unload their cargo at various ports. Exporters-Importers also on many occasions wrote to GMB to rectify facilities at ports, but nothing materialised as on date. Such difficulties also sent to Union shipping ministry.

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