Vessel Traffic System in Gulf of Kutch by March 2010, says Minister

vesselsThe Ministry of Shipping’s project to establish a Vessel Traffic System in Gulf of Kutch to regulate the shipping traffic, is likely to be complete by March 2010.

This information was given by Union Minister of Shipping, Shri G. K. Vasan in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.

The project which primarily envisages the safety of ships in the Gulf of Kutch as also the security of the region and protection of the surrounding environment was originally supposed to have been in place in early 2007. In March 2008, then minister of Shipping, Baalu, had said that the project would be completed by October 2008.

In his reply, Minister G.K.Vasan yesterday said, “The project consists of Civil Engineering work, telecommunication network and installation of equipment for the Vessel Traffic System. It comprises establishment of one Master Control Centre at Kandla, nine Radar Stations spread over the entire Gulf of Kutch, six Port Monitor Stations, two Radio direction finders, Metrological and Hydrological Sensors and associated microwave link. The Civil Engineering work consists of construction of ten 60 meter, one 50 meter and two 30 meter high RCC towers, one Master Control Centre building and other ancillary buildings. The Civil Engineering work is spread over 21 sites. The project has been assigned to a consortium lead by M/s. Telecommunications Consultants India Limited. The other partners of the consortium are M/s. M. L. Dalmia and Company, Kolkata, and M/s Holland Institute of Traffic Technology, the Netherlands.”

“The project was initially slated for completion by June, 2007. However, there has been time overrun due to remoteness of sites and slow progress of civil engineering works. The project is now rescheduled for completion by 31.3.2010. So far, no cost escalation has occurred in the implementation of the project except for payment to be made for additional work required to be done by the contractor,” Minister added.

Highlites of the project

-The work involves the largest number of radar towers which are to be constructed quakeproof because, Gulf of Kutch is in the most dangerous seismic zone, category 5.

-The key technical equipment, which includes radars and software would come from Denmark and The Netherlands.

-In all, nine towers would be erected in the Gulf of Kutch, six on the Kutch coast and three on the Saurahstra coast.

-The master control room would, however, be at Kandla.

-The monitoring would be so specific and minute that a small fishing boat entering the Gulf of Kutch would be noticed by the radar stations and monitoring stations of the area. The monitoring systems of the Navy and the Coast Guards at Okha too could monitor the movement of any ship in the Gulf for interception of any illegal entrant.

-The VTMS is not new to the country. Such systems existed at major Indian ports like Mumbai, but they were port-specific. This one will be bigger in magnitude and cover the entire Gulf of Kutch.

-According to the Centre’s guidelines, every port should have its own Vessel Traffic System, Kandla would not have one, as it would be a part of the bigger scheme.

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