In a major development that will boost development of trade and industry in districts of northern Karnataka, Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari announced that the Belekeri Port in Uttar Kannada district will be developed into a major port.
He was addressing a huge gathering after laying foundation stone for strengthening and widening of two lanes (with paved shoulders) of Vijaypura- Hubballi section of National Highway 218 and construction of a major bridge on the stretch here on Tuesday. The total cost of the project is Rs. 462 crore and tenders have already been finalised.
Mr. Gadkari said that connectivity to major ports would be of great advantage for development of trade and industry and also to the farm sector. “We will spend Rs. 5,000 crores for developing the Belekeri port into a major port,” he announced.
Hubballi-Ankola railway line
The union minister said that Hubballi-Ankola railway line was essential for ensuring rail connectivity to new major port. “However, there are few environmental issues still to be addressed. I invite the Karnataka ministers and MPs from the region to New Delhi for a joint meeting with the Union Minister for Environment and Forests Prakash Javadekar and me to clear hurdles and find solutions,” he said.
Referring to the National Waterways Bill, 2015, Mr. Gadkari elaborated about the need for development of inland waterways. Referring to how many nations had cut down transportation costs by optimum utilisation of water ways, he said that his aim was to bring down the transportation cost to 12 per cent. “The twelve rivers in Karnataka, including Krishna, Cauvery, Malaprabha, Ghataprabha, Tungabhadra and others, could be developed into inland waterways and our ministry is seriously working on the issue,” he added.