Mumbai : “More than 55% of the population is depend on agriculture which is suffering from recurring droughts. We planned to build more ports, airports and highways to propel the economic development of the state and eventually reduce dependency on agriculture for employment,” said CM Devendra Fadnavis, on the occasion of foundation-laying ceremony of a new private port at Mankhurd creek near Vashi-Mankhurd railway bridge on Friday.

He described the new satellite port will work as feeder port to Jawahalal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) and Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) which are currently overburdened. It is named ‘Yogayatan’ Port, and is being developed by the Yogayatan Group on a plot of 10 acres land in Mankhurd. Dr Rajendra Singh, Chairman of Yogayatan Group, said: “We have taken a 10-acre land from the state and Maharashtra State Marine Board and are further planning to get more for expansion of the project.”

“Yogatan is contemplating developing a multipurpose cargo port, a ship building and repairing yard; thermal power plant; LNG receiving, re-gasification and re-loading terminal, and a passenger terminal,” he added. Environment activists are afraid that this activity will jeopardise the mangroves near the creek.

The new port is strategically located in the middle of Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane cities. The CM believes it will meet the requirement of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region  and will reduce the traffic congestion of goods trucks plying in these three cities.

He said the state is planning to build a Mumbai–Nagpur highway to connect 12 districts of Marathwada and Vidharba regions to help bring perishable agriculture goods to the city and export it in record time.

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