Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Prime Minister's Office
12-January-2020 16:53 IST
English rendering of PM's address at the grand Sesqui centenary Celebrations of the Kolkata Port Trust

The Governor of West Bengal, Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar, my Cabinet colleague Mansukh Mandaviya, other Ministers and MPs present here, and my sisters and brothers from West Bengal who are present here in large numbers.

It is indeed a privilege for all of us to be a part of this ceremony being held in close proximity to Mother Ganga, near Gangasagar, which is a historic symbol of the country's water power. This day is very important for Kolkata Port Trust, for the people associated with it and for those who have worked here. I also believe that there can be no greater opportunity to give new boost to port laid development in India. I congratulate all of you my friends who are associated with the Kolkata Port Trust for entering the 150th year of establishment, and my best wishes for the same.

Friends, a short while back, stamps were issued here to testify this moment. Along with this, a cheque of 500 crore rupees was also handed over for the pension of the employees of this trust and thousands of former employees who worked here. I also had the privilege of honouring senior dignitaries above 100 years of age. I salute all such dignitaries and their families who serve the nation through the Kolkata Port Trust and wish them a better future.

Friends, today for the expansion and modernization of this port, infrastructure projects worth hundreds of crores of rupees have also been inaugurated. The foundation stone of the hostel and skill development centre has also been laid for the education and skill development of tribal daughters. I also congratulate all the citizens of West Bengal for all these developmental facilities.


Friends, Kolkata Port is not just a place for ships to come and go, it has an entire history behind it. This port is a witness to India getting swaraj from foreign rule. From Satyagraha to Swachchgraha, this port has seen the country changing. This port is not only the place for the freight carriers, but also a place where the scholars leave their mark on the country and the world. Many mystics, on many occasions, had started their journey from this place to the world.

In a way, this port of Kolkata is a living symbol of India's aspiration for industrial development, spirituality and self-reliance. In such a situation, when this port is entering its 150th year, it is our responsibility to make it a robust symbol of New India.


Saluting the same spirit of West Bengal and India, I want to name the Kolkata Port Trust, after the father of industrialization in India, who had the dream of Bengal's development and who had sacrificed his life for 'One nation, one law'. Now this port will be known as Doctor Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Port.

Friends, Dr. Mukherjee, the son of Bengal, had laid the foundation stone for industrialization in the country. Be it the Chittaranjan Locomotive Factory, Hindustan Aircraft Factory, Sindri Fertilizer Factory or Damodar Valley Corporation, Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee had been a major contributor to the development of many such major projects. And on this occasion today, I also commemorate Babasaheb Ambedkar, and salute him. Dr. Mukherjee and Baba Saheb Ambedkar, both had given new policies and a new vision for post-independence India.


         While Dr. Mukherjee's first industrial policy laid emphasis on the proper use of the country's water resources, Baba Saheb used his experiences to formulate the country's first water resources policy and labour laws. The rapid pace of construction of the river valley projects, dams and ports in the country has been possible due to these two great sons. Both these individuals understood the power of the country's resources, and had insisted on using the resources according to the needs of the country.


It was here at a conference in Kolkata in 1944 on the new water policy that Babasaheb had said that India's water ways policy should be comprehensive. It should include every aspect like irrigation, electricity and traffic. But it was unfortunate for the country that after Dr. Mukherjee and Babasaheb withdrew from the government; their suggestions were not implemented as they should have been.


Friends, India's vast maritime border is about 7,500 kilometers long. In the world, being connected to the sea coast is still considered a great strength. Landlocked countries sometimes feel helpless. In ancient times, India also had a great power. From the Lothal Port of Gujarat to the Kolkata Port, trade used to take place through the long coastline of India all over the world and there also used to be an exchange of civilization and culture. After the year 2014, new thought was given and work was begun afresh with a new zeal to reinvigorate this power of India.


Friends, our government believes that India's ports are the gateway to India's prosperity. And so the government had started the Sagarmala program to modernize connectivity and infrastructure along the coasts. Modernization of the existing port in the country and development of a new port is on a constant progress under the Sagarmala project. Roads, Railroads, Inter-state waterways and coastal transport are being integrated. This project is playing a very crucial role in increasing freight movement through coastal transport.


About 575 projects worth more than Rs 6 lakh crore have been identified under this scheme. Out of these, more than 200 projects worth more than Rs 3 lakh crore are under progress and about 125 have been completed.

Friends, the government is trying to make the entire framework of transportation modern and integrated. The imbalance in the transport policies in our country is also being corrected. In this too, East India and North-East India are getting special benefits from schemes related to the Inland waterway and in future, the network of connecting the entire North-East through water is going to emerge as a golden chapter in India's development.

Sisters and brothers, Kolkata is even more fortunate in terms of development related to water. Kolkata Port is also in the maritime periphery of the country and is situated on the banks of the river. In this way, it is a confluence site for waterways within and outside the country.

         You all know very well that ships have started moving in the Ganga between Haldia and Benares. And I am the MP of Kashi, so naturally, I have directly connected with you. Rapid work is underway to complete the country's first modern Inland waterway.

This year efforts are being made to prepare multimodal terminal in Haldia and navigational lock in Farakka. The work to build the required depth is also in progress for the year 2021, so that even larger ships can run in the Ganges. Besides this, cargo transportation has started on the inland waterway-2 connecting Gangaji to Brahmaputra in Pandu, Assam. Kolkata Port is connected to the industrial centres of eastern India with the construction of river waterways facilities; trade has become easier for countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar.

Friends, due to several steps like development of modern facilities in the country's ports, better system of connectivity and improvement in management, the time associated with the clearance of cargo and its transportation has decreased.

Turnaround time has reduced to almost half in the last 5 years. This is a big reason due to which there has been an improvement of 79 positions in India's ease of doing business ranking.

Friends, West Bengal, Kolkata, farmers, industries and labourers, my fishermen brothers and sisters will be greatly benefitted by the expansion of water connectivity in the coming days.

The government is running the Blue Revolution Scheme to enable our fishermen brothers to make full use of the water wealth. Under this, besides adding value to this area, they are also being helped in modernization of trawlers. Through the Kisan Credit Card, fishermen are now getting cheaper and hassle-free loans from banks. On the one hand we have created a separate Jal Shakti Ministry, while on the other hand we have also set up a separate Fisheries ministry that will boost this ministry. That is, the creation of these ministries is the sign of where we want to take development and in which direction we want to go.

Friends, Port-led development develops an extensive ecosystem. This water wealth is also being used for tourism, sea tourism, and river water tourism. Nowadays people go abroad for a cruise. All these things can be developed very easily here. It is a wonderful coincidence that the modernization of major centres related to art and culture of West Bengal started yesterday only and today such a big scheme related to water tourism has been launched here.

The river front development scheme is going to give a new dimension to the tourism industry of West Bengal. Tourists will also benefit from the 32 acres of land here when comfortable facilities will be developed for the darshan of Gangaji.


Sisters and brothers, not just in Kolkata, the government is building the necessary infrastructure for aquariums, water parks, sea museums, cruise, and water sports also in cities and clusters connected to ports across the country.

The central government is also promoting cruise-based tourism. Our goal is to increase the number of cruise ships in the country, which is currently around 150, to 1000. West Bengal is also going to get the benefit of this expansion; the islands located in the Bay of Bengal will also get the benefit.

Friends, every effort is being made by the Central Government for the development of West Bengal. Efforts are being made particularly for the development of the poor, dalits, the underprivileged, the exploited and the backward classes. Nearly 90 lakh poor sisters in West Bengal have received gas connections under the Ujjwala scheme. There are also more than 35 lakh sisters from Dalit and tribal families.

As soon as the state government will approve the Ayushman Bharat Yojana and the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, the people here will get the benefits; I do not know whether the state government will approve or not, but if it approves, then people here will also get the benefit of these schemes.

And let me tell you that under Ayushman Bharat, about 75 lakh poor patients of the country have received free treatment in case of serious illness. And you can imagine when the poor struggles with a disease; he gives up hope of living. And when the poor gets support to prevent and cure the disease, then his blessings are priceless. Today I am able to sleep peacefully because such poor families keep on showering their blessings.

Similarly, under PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, about 43 thousand crore rupees have been deposited in the bank accounts of more than 8 crore farmer families of the country through Direct Benefit Transfer. There is no middleman, no cut or syndicate; and when it reaches directly, and no one receives any commission, why would anyone implement such a scheme?

It is such a great help to the 8 crore farmers of the country, but I will always have pain in my heart; I would always like to pray to God to give wisdom to the policy makers. And I hope the Ayushman Bharat Scheme reaches the poor to help them against diseases and I want to ensure the path of happiness and peace in the lives of poor farmers of Bengal, through the benefits of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi. Today I know the mood of the people of Bengal. I know it very well. The strength of the people of Bengal is such that no one will be able to deprive the people of these schemes.

          Friends, the development of the village and the poor for whom several brave sons and daughters of West Bengal had raised their voices must be our priority. It is not the responsibility of any one person or one government, but it is the collective resolution of the entire India. It is also the collective responsibility and a collective effort. I believe that in the new decade of the 21st century, when the world is waiting for a glorious India, our collective efforts will never disappoint the world. These efforts will certainly bring accolades.

          With this confidence, and with the unwavering faith in the determination and capability of 130 crore countrymen, I see in front of my eyes the bright future of India. And with this belief, let us move on the path of our duty. Let us come forward to undertake our responsibilities. When 130 crore countrymen follow their duties, the country crosses new heights quickly.

With this belief, once again, I wish all of you and the entire West Bengal on Sesquicentenary Celebrations of the Kolkata Port Trust and for the development projects. On this important occasion today, my best wishes to all of you.



This is the land of inspiration, the land that awakens the country. From here, we will give out the slogan that covers our dreams loudly. With both hands up, with the fists closed, we will speak with full force -

Bharat Mata ki Jai!

Bharat Mata ki Jai!

Bharat Mata ki Jai!


Thanks a lot!