The government plans to expand port facilities in fiscal 1994-95 beginning next month, especially to boost handling of containerized cargo.
Its policy also foresees modernizing other facilities, deepening drafts so larger vessels can be accommodated and expanding dredging facilities.Several proposals projected to cost US$1 billion have been drafted by the Ministry of Surface Transport to raise port capacity by 36 million metric tons in the five-year period that began in calendar 1992.
Capacity in April 1992 was 169.23 million tons. It had risen to 171 million tons by the end of March last year and is expected to reach 173.18 million tons at the end of this month.
The budget presented this week allocates 4.9 billion rupees (US$160 million) for ports and lighthouses in fiscal 1994-95. That compares with 6.3 billion rupees in fiscal 1993-94.
As part of government policy, all state-owned enterprises and establishments will receive less financial support in the current fiscal year. They are expected to make up the difference by raising revenues and borrowing.
Despite the general policy, figures made available by the ministry show some main ports will get sharply increased funding.
On the west coast, the Port of New Mangalore will get 400 million rupees in fiscal 1994-95 compared with 60 million the previous year. The Port of Cochin will receive 600 million rupees against 500 million. The Port of Mormugao gets 300 million rupees compared with 130 million. The Port of Tuticorin, in southern Tamil Nadu state, has been allocated 195 million rupees, up from 140 million.
On the east coast, the Port of Madras will get 550 million rupees compared with 160 million in 1993-94.
The government also is extending the category of project imports to ports. Basic customs duty on project imports and general capital goods is being cut to 25 percent from 35 percent.
State-owned Shipping Corp. of India will get 12.8 billion rupees this year, compared with 11.1 billion in 1993-94. SCI has a fleet of about 130 ships and owns 50 percent of all Indian capacity.