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Shipping ministry plans to float global arm for international projects.

Date: 24-09-2015
Subject: Shipping ministry plans to float global arm for international projects
NEW DELHI: India has received proposals from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to build ports on their coastlines, prompting the shipping ministry to set up a global arm to undertake international projects.

This comes after Iran made a similar proposal to India to develop its Chabahar port and to invest in the port's special economic zone (SEZ). "We have proposals from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to develop ports on their coastline. We will set up a global arm to undertake the projects," Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Wednesday.

Speaking on the fate of India's investment in Chabahar port, Gadkari said various ministries, including petroleum, chemical and fertilizers, and railways have been asked to submit their proposals by September 28. After the ministries send their reports, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take the final call.

"Iran has offered India gas at $2.95 per mmbtu for the urea plant, but India seeks the gas at $ 1.5 per mmbtu. We're still in the process of negotiating. If Iran offers us cheap gas, our urea subsidy will come down significantly," Gadkari said.

India wants Iran to provide substantial land in the Chabahar SEZ for setting up of petrochemicals, fertiliser and other gas-based industries by Indian companies.

This project also has immense strategic value for India as it offers an alternate route to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan. The port will be connected to Zahedan on the Iran-Afghan border through a railway line, which will also be built by Indian construction company IRCON.

The port will be also used to ship crude oil and urea, saving India transportation costs. It will also cut transport costs and freight time for India to Central Asia and the Gulf by about a third.

India has pledged to invest about $85 million in developing the strategic port off Iran's south eastern coast.

Gadkari also said his ministry will be setting up 200 megawatt of solar and wind power plants on the port land, which would help these ports cut their power bills. "Our ports are getting electricity for Rs 8-9 per unit. Setting up green energy plant would help us cut the cost," he said.


Speaking on the Volkswagon (VW) emission cheating scandal, Gadkari said his ministry was closely watching the development and it doesn't concern India right now. "I feel it is not a concern for India right now. We are watching reports on the development," Gadkari said.

Source : economictimes.indiatimes.com

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