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India’s Sagarmala programme has committed $44m to dredging projects

2023-08-09 Gary Howard

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Indian dredging activities are set to increase over the coming years thanks to the Sagarmala flagship port-led development programme. India’s Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has committed to spending 22.9 crore ($44.0m) across nine dredging projects in the country. 

The scope of listed projects by the Ministry include dredging and upgrading of port approaches, dock basins, Ro-Pax navigation channels, and turning circles with the aim of improving port access. This will enable coastal trade and cut journey times through the use of ferries. A full list of projects can be accessed here.

The Sagarmala programme has sanctioned funds representing over half of the $84.0m total costs for the nine projects, per a written response to India’s lower house the Lok Sabha, by Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Mr Sarbananda Sonowal. Support for the various dredging activities across six states ranged from 20% of the project cost to 100%.

New funding guidelines for Sagarmala issued in April 2023 limit its contribution to 50% of a project’s estimated total cost, with up to 100% financial assistance available only for strategic and unique projects. The largest commitment of project funds to one of the nine projects was for the dredging of Ro-Pax ferry services across the Gulf of Khambhat, a $28.3m project to which Sagarmala committed 50%, or $14.1m. 

The overarching aim of the Sagarmala project, which was founded in 2015, is to enhance infrastructure growth by utilising India’s 7,500km of coastline. Projects are split between port modernisation, port connectivity, port-led industrialisation and coastal community development, with 800 projects identified as part of the Sagarmala project.

Under the scheme, state governments apply to the Sagarmala programme for funding for works on non-major ports. Applications are then considered against Sagarmala’s funding guidelines and instructions from the Ministry of Finance before work is put out to tender.

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