New Delhi: Newly appointed junior shipping minister Milind Deora today said his top most priority, along with inviting private participation in the sector, would be to utilise the country's massive coastline by creating economic opportunities.
     
"Sea is an untapped resource, especially from recreation point of view and my priority will be to utilize our massive coastline, in terms of employment and investment opportunities in the sector," Deora told reporters after taking charge as Minister of State for Shipping.
     
Deora, the Minister of State for Telecom and IT, has been given the additional portfolio of the Shipping Ministry after cabinet reshuffle this Sunday.
     
"We aim to use the coastline in a way that allows economic opportunities," he said adding that he is grateful to his leadership for bestowing him with this responsibility.
     
"This (Shipping) industry is a barometer of what we can expect from the global economy. In the area of shipping, there are a lot of opportunities like in ship building for Indian companies," Deora said, adding his ministry would look at investment proposals from private companies in the sector.
     
Another area that the newly appointed Minister aims to focus is the safety of sailors or seafarers.
     
"Other issues of concern are protection of seafarers, how do we protect them and also people who have invested in the shipping sector," Deora stated.
     
Ministry of Shipping has set a target of awarding 42 projects during the current financial year (2012-13) including two new major port projects.
    
The total capacity addition would be 245 million tones involving 42 projects at an investment of about Rs 14,000 crore.
     
"We have received in-principle approval for two new major ports, we have already floated a new note, we hope by November we should be able to get Cabinet approval," he said.
     
The government has selected two sites - Sagar island (West Bengal) and Ramyapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) for constructing two new major ports in the country.
     
There are 12 major ports -- Kandla, Mumbai, Jawaharlal Nehru Port, Marmagao, New Mangalore, Kochi, Tuticorin, Chennai, Ennore, Vishakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata-Haldia in India.

(Agencies)

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