‘Dearth of technicians and specialists in the sector a hindrance’

Minister for Infrastructure and Investments Ganta Srinivasa Rao has underlined the need for huge investments in the port sector to tap the vast potential of maritime trade.

Participating as chief guest at the inaugural of an international conference-cum-exhibition ‘TechSamudra 2012’ on NSTL campus here on Thursday, the Minister said the 7,500-km-long coastline of the country provided immense scope for maritime trade. Andhra Pradesh has a 975-km coastline and one major port. He said there was a dearth of technicians and specialists in the maritime sector.

Mr. Srinivasa Rao said the State government was planning to set up a Maritime Board. Saying that there was huge potential for maritime trade, he felt it could be tapped through development of education and research. He lauded the role of the Indian Maritime University (IMU) in this regard.

Chancellor of GITAM University K. Ramakrishna Rao, who participated as guest of honour, felt that a university should be a representative of all disciplines. But, specialised universities such as IMU could be based on maritime concept, but interlinked to other disciplines apart from ship design. These could be in the areas of copyright, legal aspects, and green concepts of ship building. He felt that a holistic perspective of other areas was also required.

He appealed to scientists to look at the possibility of developing technology for promotion of human beings and not just mere economic development. He felt development should be consumer-oriented.

IMU Vice-Chancellor G. Raghuram said the university was set up covering multiple disciplines across its various campuses in the country. These were focusing on areas such as navigation, maritime management, and law. There were also plans to introduce subjects like maritime sciences and social sciences. He mooted the idea of studying the psychology of mariner staying at sea, away from their families, for six to eight months.

He said 90 per cent of India’s trade was through the seas. The four-end goals of maritime trade were logistics support, resources, security and safety, and exploitation of marine resources in a sustainable manner.

Prof. Raghuram underlined the importance of infrastructure development for promoting the growth and development of any region. Commending the Gujarat and AP governments for developing infrastructure in the PPP (Public Private Partnership) mode, he felt it was essential as the government alone might not have the capability of spending huge investments on such projects.

Nonetheless, the government could not abdicate from its responsibility and it had a bounden duty to ensure transparency in the PPP projects. He said India had a vast pool of engineering talent and hence had immense opportunities in increasing its share in the world maritime trade.

IMU Vizag campus Director S.C. Mishra, who is also chairman of the organising committee, welcomed the gathering.

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