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    National Smart Waterways Grid Mission advocated by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam


    smart water ways grid

    National Smart Waterways Grid Mission was proposed by none other than Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam at the 8th International Conference organized by the Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCC&I) on 14th February, 2014.  Dr Kalam, Former President of India, advocated the creation of the “National Smart Waterways Grid Mission” being the right solution for India as it could also help boost the sluggish economy. Delivering the keynote address at the conference on “Shipping Industry in times of Economic change” Dr Kalam, who was the chief guest of the event, stated that this mission will connect the rivers, dams, reservoirs and catchment areas at a particular height to use the flood water and to issue the flood water on demand to any deficient region in the country.

     

    Considered one of the high profile events the conference drew participation from top industrialist, entrepreneur, top government officials and other stakeholders numbering more than 300. What may have attracted a bigger gathering could have been the star personality, Dr A.P.J. Kalam who never fails to draw crowds. “We have also studied the “Interlinking of Rivers” program and visited many countries to study the way they manage the water, rivers, and flood & drought conditions successfully,” Dr Kalam stated. “We have studied the USA’s Mississippi, Ohio Rivers systems and its networking of waterways; we witnessed how Canada and USA had an experience in the creating waterways through the Well and Canal which bypasses the Niagara River and Niagara Falls between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie; Also we studied how the waterways and water management is done in Northern Ireland and Netherlands. Implementation of National Smart Waterways GRID across India will gain the advantage of harnessing 1500 BCM of Flood water. This National Smart Waterways Grid will become a National Reservoir and will use at least 600 BCM out of 1500 BCM of flood water which goes to sea every year.”

     

    Dr. Kalam also spoke about the leadership and integrity, the need for innovation, promoting ship construction and how it adds value to our society. He suggested, “As ship building is a long lead time activity, there is a need for evolving a long term 20 year vision for ship building capacity in India. India should aim to build 300,000 DWT capacity vessels per annum by year 2020”. The session on ports gave insights on what the rest of the world thinks about India as far as financing of ports is concerned and provided insights into how the Indian system works the financial hurdles in the sector and areas of modernization. N. N. Kumar, Chairman of Jawaharlal Nehru Port stated that there is the need for proper connectivity for evacuating cargo speedily. “When it comes to development for the private ports there is need for financial regime while for major ports, which are under the Central government, there is the Public Private Participation (PPP) model for the enhancement of port capacity,” he said. “But major ports also need to be given autonomy for undertaking port development. Besides, involvement of multi-level agency with creative leadership is a must for ensuring faster decision making. There is need for more automation and have an LNG terminal.”

     

    Rajeev Gupta, Chairman of Mumbai Port Trust regretted that as a result of pressure from the city the problem of connectivity continues to act as a deterrent to enhancing port’s capacity. This situation faced at Mumbai port was similar to that of Kolkata. He agreed with Mr. Kumar that there was need for major ports to have autonomy for expeditious decision making. The panel discussion of ‘Making India a Flag State of Preference’ discussed advantages of Foreign Flag versus Indian Flag. Whereas in the case of coastal shipping it was agreed that it would get accepted on a larger scale only if it wins the economic rationale. This necessarily covers full economic cost – financial as well as social costs. It demands greater advocacy by customers than the service providers.


    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014

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