The Gujarat government Friday gave “in-principle” approval to build a new jetty worth an estimated Rs 192 crore at Navlakhi port which
has been in operation since 1939 and lies a little over two kilometers away from the Marine Sanctuary in the Gulf of Kutch.

This new jetty will help the port in Morbi district to double its cargo handling capacity to 16-20 million metric tonnes per annum, stated an official release from the government. The approval from the government comes a few days after the National Green Tribunal refused to quash the Environmental Clearance given to Navlakhi port for modernisation.

Navlakhi currently exports commodities like salt, while it imports coal and coke, flourspar and pig iron. The expansion plan will involve construction of a 485-meter-long jetty. This will be the sixth jetty at the port. While two jetties are owned by Gujarat Maritime Board, one each belongs to Shreeji Shipping Pvt Ltd, United Shippers Ltd and Jaydeep Associates.

Under the Sagarmala project, the Centre will be providing financial aid worth Rs 41.3 crore for building this jetty. This will be first of the five jetties that will be constructed by the Gujarat Maritime Board as part of the expansion project for Navlakhi port. In the first phase costing Rs 192 crore, one jetty will be constructed, 5.76 hectares of land will be reclaimed, port will be mechanised and capital dredging will be carried out, officials of GMB told The Indian Express.

In the second phase (which is yet to be approved by the government) four more jetties costing an estimated Rs 200 crore will be constructed at Navlakhi.

The Centre had granted CRZ clearance for the project in November 2020. The expansion of the port includes modernisation of existing port operations by way of mechanisation and augmentation of waterfront facility. The entire operation of port is proposed to be converted in close containment in such a way that coal or dusty cargo will not be handled in open. Coal handled at the port is directly transported to thermal plants in Gujarat, Rajasthan and UP.

The port annually handles 2.5 million metric tonnes per annum (MMTPA) of salt, 4.5 MMTPA of coal and 1 MMPTA of ceramics, the government release added.

The expansion plan of the port also includes reclamation of 5.76 hectares that have significant mangrove cover. The project will involve capital dredging of 2.76 lakh cubic meter which will help the new jetty have a draft of four meters. Apart from the capital dredging, maintenance dredging of 28,000 cubic meter will have to be carried out annually.

Source: The Indian Express