The Belekeri port in Uttara Kannada is all set to be developed into the ‘Gateway of Karnataka’, with the Union government planning to invest Rs. 4,000 crore to develop the port, said Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Shipping, Road Transport and Highways on Friday.
Not just the port, the Ministry is working on rail connectivity between Ballari and Belekeri at a cost of Rs. 1,420 crore, Mr. Gadkari said, adding that port-led industrial cluster development has been planned in Hubballi, Dharwad and Mangaluru. A mechanised fish harbour, fertilizer and petrochemical hub has also been planned in Mangaluru, he said during a video conference.
“There still are some issues to be ironed out to get clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The Chief Minister has assured us that these bottlenecks will be sorted out soon to clear the decks for the Belekeri project,” Mr. Gadkari said.
The projects are being taken up under the Sagar Mala projects, for port and port-led development, where the State has been allocated a total outlay of Rs. 6,215 crore.
He also clarified that there is no proposal to privatise Mangaluru port.
The State government has proposed inland waterways in all the major rivers in the State — Cauvery, Krishna and Tungabhadra. “We are open to add any other rivers too. We will soon take up this project,” Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Shipping, Road, Transport and Highways, said, adding that the Ministry was ready to float a joint venture firm with the State government for the purpose. The Minister called on both private and foreign investors to bid for innovative waterways or tourism projects through Swiss challenge, and the government was open to take up these projects.