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Ro-Pax service will decrease transportation costs and aid ease of doing business: PM Modi
Connectivity boost given by the ferry service will impact everyone starting from traders to students: PM Modi
Name of Ministry of Shipping will be changed to Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways: PM Modi

This is an ideal example of how ease of doing business also increases with the start of a single project and how ease of living grows at the same time. I had the opportunity to talk to four-five brothers and sisters just now and the way they shared their experience, whether it is about pilgrimage, or discussion on minimum loss to the vehicle, or discussion on saving time, or about saving waste of production in farming, or taking fruits and vegetables to markets in Surat. I think there is a very happy atmosphere that the increase in speed will also facilitate the trade. Everybody, including businessmen, traders, employees, workers, farmers and students, are going to be benefited through this excellent connectivity.One gets a lot of satisfaction when distance between one’s own gets reduced.

In a way, the people of Gujarat are getting this great gift of Diwali today. Present on this happy occasion, Gujarat Chief Minister, Shri Vijay Rupaniji, my cabinet colleague in the central government, Mansukh Bhai Mandaviyaji, Gujarat unit president of the Bharatiya Janata Party and my colleague in parliament, Shri C.R. Patilji, all the ministers in Gujarat government, parliamentarians, legislators, all other public representatives and my dear brothers and sisters gathered in different places in large numbers!The years of dream have been realized and the wait for years has ended for the people of Saurashtra and South Gujarat with the start of the Ro-Pax service between Hazira and Ghogha. A new terminal has also been inaugurated at Hazira. Many many congratulations and best wishes to all of you for the establishment of this new maritime link between Bhavnagar and Surat.

Friends,

This service will reduce the present road distance of 375 kilometres between Ghogha and Hazira to only 90 kilometres through the sea. It will now take only 3-4 hours to cover the distance which earlier used to take 10-12 hours. This will not only save time, but will also reduce your expenses. Moreover, the less traffic on road will also help in reducing pollution. As it has been told here, the figure is very huge, that about 80,000 passenger cars and almost 30,000 trucks will be able to take advantage of this new service in a year. Imagine the saving on petrol and diesel.

Friends,

Above all, the connectivity of Saurashtra with a large business centre in Gujarat is going to change the life of the region. Now, it will be much easier for the farmers and herders of Saurashtra to transport fruits, vegetables and milk to Surat. Severe damage is caused to fruits, vegetables and milk due to the long journey by road. Now all this will stop. Now the produce of herders and farmers will reach the markets faster and safely through the maritime route. Similarly, the commute and transportation will be much easier and cheaper for the trader and worker friends.

Friends,

It was not that easy, many people have labored for the development of facilities like Ro-Pax ferry service. There were many problems and challenges in developing this facility. I am associated with these projects from early days, and therefore, I am aware of all the problems. Sometimes, there used to be doubts whether it will be achieved or not, because this was a new experience for us in Gujarat. Therefore, everybody who has put in efforts for this deserves commendation. I offer my gratitude especially to all the engineers and workers who remained courageous to realize this dream. It is because of the hard work and courage which has resulted in this facility and new opportunities for lakhs of Gujaratis.

Friends,

Gujarat has a rich heritage of maritime trade. Mansukh Bhai was just informing us how we were connected to maritime trade thousands of years ago. It is a matter of pride for every Gujarati the way Gujarat has realized its maritime potential in the last two decades and gave priority to port-led development. During this time, special attention has been given to infrastructure in coastal areas of Gujarat and other development projects. Priority has been given to development of every infrastructure, be it the state’s ship-building policy, or the development of ship-building park, or the specialized terminals. For example, solid cargo, chemical and LNG terminal in Dahej and coal terminal in Mundra. Alongside, we have encouraged vessel traffic management system and ground-breaking connectivity project. With these initiatives, the port sector in Gujarat has got a new direction.

Friends,

Efforts have been made to make the life of people living around the ports easier besides developing physical infrastructure of ports. We have focused on the modernization of the entire ecosystem of the coastal area, be it the SagarKhedu scheme on mission mode, or to provide employment to the local youths by developing their skills. There has been a huge scope for port-led development in Gujarat. The government has ensured the development of all kinds of infrastructure in the coastal area.

Friends,

It is the result of such efforts that Gujarat has been established today as a sea gate of India in a way. Gateway is being built, the gateway of prosperity. Over the last two decades, a unique model of integrated port has evolved from traditional port operations in Gujarat. This model has been developed as a benchmark today. Today, Mundra is India's largest multipurpose port and Sikka is the largest captive port. The result of these efforts is that the ports of Gujarat have emerged as major maritime centers of the country. Last year, Gujarat accounted for more than 40 percent of the country's total maritime trade. I am telling this to the people of Gujarat perhaps for the first time.

Friends,

Today, work on maritime business-related infrastructure and capacity building in Gujarat is going in full swing. Many facilities are getting ready in Gujarat like Gujarat Maritime Cluster, Gujarat Maritime University and the country’s first CNG Terminal at Bhavnagar. Gujarat Maritime cluster ports to be built in GIFT city will be a dedicated system to address ports to sea based logistics. These clusters will help in strengthening the cooperation between the government, industry and educational institutions and will also help in value addition in this sector.

Friends,

In the recent past, India’s first chemical terminal was established in Dahej, the first LNG terminal was established. Now, India's first CNG terminal is going to be installed at Bhavnagar Port. In addition, facilities like Ro-Ro terminal at Bhavnagar port, liquid cargo terminal and a new container terminal are being prepared. With the addition of these new terminals, the capacity of Bhavnagar port will increase manifold.

Friends,

The government is making efforts to restart the ferry service between Ghogha-Dahej very soon. Many natural challenges have arisen in this project and efforts are being made to remove them through modern technology. I am hopeful that people of Ghogha and Dahej will soon be able to take advantage of this facility again.

Friends,

Gujarat Maritime University is a big center for getting trained manpower and experts for maritime trade. This is the country’s first institute to provide professional education for the needs associated with this sector. Today, this University provides opportunities to pursue maritime law and international trade law and also MBA in Maritime Management, Shipping and Logistics. Apart from the university, work is also going on to build the first National Museum to preserve the country's maritime heritage in Lothal as was briefly explained by Mansukh Bhai.

Friends,

Facilities like today's Ro-Pax ferry service or sea plane inaugurated a few days ago, are giving a lot of momentum to water-resource based economy. And you see, Gujarat has made a huge jump in water, land and sky these days. A few days ago, I got an opportunity to inaugurate the ropeway in Girnar which will also give a boost to tourism, will improve facilities of tourists and will provide a new way to reach the sky. After that, I had the opportunity to inaugurate the sea-plane, to fly from one place to another in the waters, and you can imagine the momentum that will take place by navigating through the water.

Friends,

When it comes to the sea, or water, its spread spans the fish-related business, the sea-weed cultivation water transport and tourism. Over the years, serious efforts have also been made to strengthen the Blue Economy in the country. Earlier, there was a talk of ocean economy and today we are also talking about blue economy.

Friends,

Many schemes have been made over the years to help the entire eco-system of seashore and fishermen friends, whether it is the financial aid to fishermen through modern trawlers, or navigation systems that provide accurate information of weather and sea routes. Our priority is safety and prosperity of fishermen. Recently, the Pradhan MantriMatsyaSampadaYojanahas been launched to promote fish related trade. Under this scheme, Rs 20,000 crorewill be spent for infrastructure related to fisheries in the coming years. This will ensure huge benefits to lakhs of fishermen families in Gujarat and to the country’s blue economy.

Friends,

Today, the capacity of the ports is also being increased across the nation and construction of new ports is also going on at a faster pace. Efforts are being made to put maximum use of about 21,000 km of waterway in the country for the development of the country. Under the Sagarmala project, work is going on over 500 projects across the country. Many projects worth lakhs and crore rupees have been completed.

Friends,

Whether it is sea waterways or river waterways, India has the resources and there is no shortage of expertise. This is also a fact that transportation by waterways is many times cheaper than road and railways and also causes less damage to the environment. Yet, work has been done in this direction with a holistic approach only after 2014. These rivers and seas did not come after Modi became prime minister. It was all there, but that vision was not there which the country is experiencing today after 2014. Today work is going on in inland rivers across the country, to connect many land-locked states to the sea. Today we are developing our capabilities unprecedentedly in the Bay of Bengal and in the Indian Ocean. Constant work is in progress so that the maritime part of the country emerges as an important part of the self-reliant India. One more step is being taken to provide momentum to these efforts of the government. Now this ministry will be known as the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways and it is being expanded. In most of the developed countries, the Ministry of Shipping handles Ports and Waterways. The shipping ministry has been doing several works related to ports and waterways. Now with more clarity in name, there will be more clarity in the work.

Friends,

In order to strengthen the blue economy’s stake in the self-reliant India, it is very necessary to strengthen the maritime logistics. This is very necessary because the money spent on logistics takes a huge toll on our economy. The cost of carrying goods from one part of the country to another is more in India than in other countries. The cost of logistics can be reduced significantly through water transport. Therefore, our focus is to create an ecosystem where there can be seamless movement of cargo. Today, we are moving forward to work on a single window system for a better infrastructure as well as better maritime logistics, and preparations are underway.

Friends,

The country is now moving in the direction of multimodal connectivity with a holistic view and with long-term plans to reduce logistics costs. Efforts are being made to improve connectivity between road, rail, air and shipping infrastructure and also to overcome the silos. Multimodal Logistics Parks are being developedin the country. Multimodal connectivity is being developednot only in the country but also in the neighbouring countries also. I believe that we will be able to reduce the logistic costs with these measures. The measures that are being taken to keep the cost of logistics in check will give impetus to the economy.

Friends,

There is a lot of shopping taking place during festivals. Therefore, I will request the people of Surat, because it is routine for them to visit different parts of the world, not to forget the mantra of Vocal for Local at this time of the festive season. I have seen, people feel that if they buy earthen lamps then we become self-reliant. No, you have to keep in mind on everything. It is good that you buy earthen lamps. But if you look at yourself and your house, you will find several products which are imported and these products are made by our people and artisans. Then, why should not we give an opportunity to them. Friends, if we have to take the country ahead, then buy the products which are being made by our small traders, artisans, artists and our sisters in villages. You take pride in it and tell the world that this has been made by our people living in villages, districts and the country. You will be filledwith pride. The fun of celebrating Diwali will be more and therefore you will not compromise with Vocal for Local.

The nation is going to celebrate 75 years of the Independence. Till then, this mantra should become the mantra of our life and our family. The emphasis should be on developing this sentiment in every member of the family. Therefore, I am asking from my brothers and sisters of Gujarat that the Vocal for Local should become a turning point this Diwali. And I know, you will not disappoint me. Nandlalji was just telling us how he implemented something which I said many years ago. How satisfied I am today that he listened to me and implemented it. All of you are like Nandlal to me. Let’s make efforts to do something for the poor of the country. You celebrate Diwali, but ensure that Diwali is also celebrated in their homes. Light the lamp, but also ensure to light the lamp at the house of the poor man. Take this mantra of Vocal for Local forward. I believe all of you will celebrate festivals carefully during this period of corona, because your safety is the country’s safety. I extend my many many best wishes to my dear brothers and sisters of the country for the upcoming Dhanteras, Diwali, the New Year of Gujarat and for every festival.

Many many thanks!

ನಿಮ್ಮ ಸಲಹೆ ಸೂಚನೆಗಳನ್ನು ಪ್ರಧಾನ ಮಂತ್ರಿ ನರೇಂದ್ರ ಮೋದಿಯವರೊಂದಿಗೆ ಮನ್ ಕೀ ಬಾತ್ ಕಾರ್ಯಕ್ರಮದಲ್ಲಿ ಹಂಚಿಕೊಳ್ಳಿ.
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Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia calls on PM Modi
September 20, 2021
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Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi met today with His Highness Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The meeting reviewed progress on various ongoing bilateral initiatives, including those taken under the aegis of the Strategic Partnership Council established between both countries. Prime Minister expressed India's keenness to see greater investment from Saudi Arabia, including in key sectors like energy, IT and defence manufacturing.

The meeting also allowed exchange of perspectives on regional developments, including the situation in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister conveyed his special thanks and appreciation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for looking after the welfare of the Indian diaspora during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister also conveyed his warm greetings and regards to His Majesty the King and His Highness the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.