The Central Government will spend about Rs 500 crore towards setting up a Maritime heritage complex at Lothal - a Harappan port city in Gujarat.
Announcing the ambitious project on Saturday, the Union Minister of Shipping (I/C) and Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Mansukh Mandaviya stated that the Maritime heritage complex will feature maritime history, relevant replicas, evidences, maritime researches and resources with an aim to promote maritime logistics.
Lothal remains an archeological site and tourist destination in Gujarat.
Mandaviya also announced the establishment of a Maritime Park at GIFT City in Gandhinagar. This is aimed to promote and encourage the maritime industry sector.
Addressing a conference on "Ports and allied sectors in the state vis-a-vis India and the world: emerging opportunities and challenges", the Union Minister also indicated that the Central Government is working towards making India a hub for barge construction. The conference was organised at the Gujarat University on Saturday.
"India, too, could be number one in the medium-size ship building," he said. He added that the Centre of Excellence has been set up at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) - Madras, which is conducting research on dredging in the sea.
'Will create 5 lakh jobs in shipping sector over next 5 years'
Commenting on the marine transportation industry, Mandaviya stated that the cost for maritime transport in India is 14 per cent as against the world average of 9 per cent.
"If India wants to survive in competition, then it becomes necessary to reduce transportation costs. In India, it costs three rupees to transport one tonne of goods for one kilometre by road, two rupees by railway and 90 paisa by waterways. Therefore, developing and adopting a water transport system is essential if the transportation cost is to be reduced, " he said hinting at the wide opportunities in the field of Maritime Management.
With regards to employment in the maritime sector, Union Minister stated that the Government's aim is to create 5 lakh new jobs in the shipping sector over the next five years.
As part of the transformation in the sector, he stated that the number of seafarers has increased from 94,000 in 2014 to 2,14,000.
For employment opportunities in the cruise tourism sector, the ministry is planning to set up cruise terminals at five destinations in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Visakhapatnam and Goa.