With an aim to facilitate private investment in maritime sector, the Odisha State Cabinet led by Naveen Patnaik approved a new port policy last week. The State Government had formulated a Port Policy during the year 2004 for private participation in the development of ports. The move to replace the 2004 policy was necessitated as the existing policy had become outdated. The approval comes a week before the state is set to host its flagship biennial investment summit, Make in Odisha conclave.
The move to bring a new policy for integrated development of non-major ports & inland waterways is a major step as Odisha was among a few coastal states which opposed the draft Indian Ports Bill 2022. The draft released in August 2022 has stoked fear among the coastal states that the new legislation may dilute powers already vested with the states on the management of non-major ports.
The state has 14 notified non-major ports, out of which the ports at Dhamra and Gopalpur are already functioning, while the ports at Astaranga and Subarnarekha Mouth (Kirtania) are currently under construction. These apart, the State government has issued notification for establishment of 12 non-major ports in the state with private participation. Four of the proposed locations are in Balasore, two each in Ganjam, Bhadrak and Puri districts and one each in Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara districts. Apart from this, process is on for selection of developer for setting up a riverine port on Mahanadi River in Kendrapara district.
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