The government has sent a Rs. 5 crore proposal to National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for the creation of idle berthing infrastructure at Bokkapatna in the city, said K. Abhayachandra Jain, Minister of State for Fisheries, here on Monday.

Addressing presspersons during an inspection of works on extension of the III phase of Mangalore Old Port – his first such visit to the port since taking over the portfolio – Mr. Jain said the proposal was being mulled over in the NABARD office at Mumbai. “The moment we get approval, tenders will be called for and the work can start,” he said. An idle berthing facility will provide a platform for boats which currently clutter around the old port waiting for a place on the docks to load or unload, said officials of the Fisheries Department. They added that Bokkapatna had been chosen as it was upstream and would divert boat traffic that now congested between Bengre and Bunder.

Stay order

During the inspection of works on the Rs. 57.60 crore III stage dock, the Minister was informed of the stay order by the National Green Tribunal that has delayed the construction near the Hoige Bazaar creek. A six-member team of experts constituted by the court – including environmental, earth sciences and fisheries scientists – is scheduled to visit the spot on June 12, and the hearings in the NGT is to resume on July 9, said officials.

Mr. Jain told the officials that lawyers would be pressured to ensure the stay over the construction is vacated.

With numerous leaders of the fishing community approaching the Minister with demands to dredge ‘alive bagilu’ which forms the mouth of the port (the confluence of Nethravati, Gurupura and the Arabian Sea), Mr. Jain said the government will “seriously” consider the proposal to buy a dredging machine.

“Currently, we have to call for tenders and some Mumbai-based company will send the ship. This is cumbersome. Instead, I have informed the Chief Minister of buying a dredging machine for the state,” he said.

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