Chennai, March 9 (IANS) A panel will be set up to draw up incentives for greater movement of cargo through coastal shipping and inland waterways than road or rail, union Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan said here Saturday.
Speaking to reporters here after participating in the 121st meeting of National Shipping Board (NSB), Vasan said: "A high power committee will be set up to formulate an incentive scheme to encourage movement of cargo by coastal shipping or inland waterways."
According to him, transport of goods by sea is the most economical and environment friendly model as compared to rail or road but it is a challenge to bring about a shift in the attitude of people towards coastal shipping.
He said another committee will be set to review the oil spill at the ports.
In order to recover ships that get grounded or to prevent them going adrift, Vasan said one emergency towing vessel (ETV) each will be stationed at Mumbai and Chennai Ports before the monsoon season.
On the issue of the Mumbai based Pratibha Shipping whose ship got grounded and six sailors lost their lives trying to escape in a lifeboat, Director General of Shipping Gautam Chatterjee said: "The licences of six ships of the company's nine ships has been cancelled."
He stressed that Directorate General of Shipping issues licences to ships and does not have any powers to impound or auction off the vessels for non-payment of dues.
Chatterjee said he does not have the figures as to number of licences that have been cancelled and the number of ships against whom complaints of non-payment of dues are there.
Earlier speaking at the NSB meeting, Vasan said the common entrance exam has been cancelled from this year onwards in order to attract rural students to maritime sector.
He said despite the shipping sector going through a turbulent times, his ministry is utilising the period to build up port capacity, streamlining of various activities of Directorate General of Shipping and bringing more sectoral reforms.
Vasan said 16 port infrastructure projects will be awarded shortly and a pipeline of projects to be awarded for next year has also been prepared.