ODISHA: President Droupadi Murmu emphasized the imperative to bolster the nation's port infrastructure and enhance its efficiency during her address on Monday. She made these remarks while presiding over the 'Boita Bandana' ceremony, an event organized by the Paradip Port Authority. The festival commemorates Odisha's historical maritime eminence, previously recognized as 'Kalinga'.
Highlighting the commendable strides taken by the government's Sagarmala program to fortify port activities, Murmu emphasized India's commitment to realizing the visions of 'Ports for Prosperity' and 'Ports for Progress'.
She underscored the pivotal role maritime trade plays in the country's economic development, citing that "95 percent of India's total trade by volume and 65 per cent by value is conducted through sea transport."
Asserting the necessity for Indian ports to align with global standards and operate with increased efficiency, Murmu stated, "It is imperative to fortify the infrastructure of our ports to achieve this goal." She also recognized the significance of the historic Baliyatra, a symbolic representation of merchants' voyages to Java, Sumatra, and Bali, commemorated as a festival in Odisha.
"This age-old celebration symbolizes Odisha's prosperous maritime trade and reflects the cultural richness ingrained in the people of Odisha," remarked Murmu.
Emphasizing the sea's significant contribution to India's trade, commerce, and international relations, she highlighted how sea-centric literature has enriched Indian culture. Murmu hailed the long-standing tradition of naval commerce in Odisha and other coastal states, noting that merchants played a pivotal role in disseminating Indian art and culture globally.
Expressing delight over Paradip Port's substantial growth, with its cargo handling capacity doubling over the last decade, Murmu envisioned it as the largest port on the East Coast. She lauded its recognition with the 'Port of Operational Excellence Award' at the Global Maritime India Summit – 2023.
Inaugurating the Multi-Modal Logistics Park, Murmu anticipated its pivotal role in steering transparent trade development. She also praised the Vessel Traffic Management and Information System (VTMIS) and the modern signal stations for enhancing port navigation safety and orderliness.
Joining the event were Odisha Governor Raghubar Das and Union Minister Bishweswar Tudu. Murmu ceremonially flagged off a special boat, paying homage to the state's maritime legacy, and embarked on the Indian Coast Guard's special vessel 'Amogh'.