A Rs. 56.7-crore expansion of the Old Mangalore Port — a key fishing harbour in Karnataka coast — is on the cards. The proposed expansion is aimed at decongesting the fishing harbour from where more than 1,500 boats operate.

The Department of Fisheries has sent a proposal to the Union Government through the Central Institute of Coastal Engineering for Fishery (CICEF), Bangalore, according to district in-charge Minister J. Krishna Palemar.

Mr. Palemar, who is the Minister for Ports and Inland Water Development, said in a statement here that the existing south wharf would be extended by 502 metres, while a new wharf of 579 m would come up at Bengre under the proposed expansion project.

The expansion — the third phase of the port development — is being taken up as the existing facilities are not adequate to carry out fishing activities efficiently.

The project includes dredging, levelling of land, repairs to existing wharf, developing traffic area, setting up of fish auction centre, gear shed for fishermen, net mending shed, rest house, boat repair shop, restaurant, installation of radio communication tower, shelters for the security personnel, electricity and water supply system, RCC box bridges, and rainwater harvesting system.

The CICEF is a subordinate establishment under the Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries. Its objective is to carry out reconnaissance surveys/pre-feasibility studies to identify priority sites for the development of fishing harbours and follow them up by detailed engineering and economic investigations, and preparing techno-economic feasibility reports, preliminary construction plans and supporting facilities, cost estimates and so on for fishing harbours and to give technical advice on engineering and economic aspects, wherever required.

Deputy Director of Fisheries Sureshkumar Ullal said on Friday that the initial estimates were prepared by the engineering division of the Departments of Ports and Fisheries, and subsequently scrutinised by the CICEF.

The State Government is expected to release the first instalment of the funds sought for taking up the project in a couple of months, along with the sanction order, he said.

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