Shipping Ministry hopes Ports will satiate thirst for water too

A recent communiqué from the Ministry of Shipping augurs well for those who would like to see sustainability practices take root at major business and trade hubs as well. One of the key ministers in Modi government who holds multiple portfolio including that of shipping, Nitin Gadkari recently met the top executives of three major ports – Paradip Port, Kamarajar Port & VO Chidambarnar Port and evaluated their sustainability practices particularly those which could have the potential of benefiting the surrounding environment.

It is no secret to anybody that in the list of economic achievements of the present government – Sagar Mala, a massive modernization programme of 12 major ports run by the government holds its own shining place. The programme was initiated as soon as the government had taken over the mantle four years ago and the government since the beginning has been saying that the initiative is quite holistic in nature – not only aiming at significant capacity expansion but also targeting initiation of sustainable practices which could benefit the different sections of the stakeholders including the local populace.

To begin with, the minister has instructed for the installation of desalination plants with immediate effect at these crucial trading hubs which will deliver multiple benefits to different sections of stakeholders. For instance, a 13 million litres desalination plant at VO Chidambarnar Port is slated to provide 20 percent of Tuticorin city’s water requirement after port utilization.  A similar plant unit at Kamarajar Port is meant to contribute 1 percent of the city water needs of Chennai, a megacity. Emphasizing on the ministry’s key agenda to promote water conservation and reuse of water in maritime infrastructure development, Gadkari’s meeting with top office bearers of the three ports also saw extensive discussion on the use of new technology based containerized RO (Reverse Osmosis) based plants which can reduce the cost of producing desalinated water and would be cheaper than current water procurement cost at certain ports.

A major issue which came up during the meeting was: keeping the power costs down in running large scale desalination plants. The minister has reportedly advised the port chiefs to look for the alternative sources of power, mainly solar and wind which have already become popular in the region. The suggested solution simply entails a green exercise all the way in encouraging major ports to contribute water requirements of the nearby locations.


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