Transportation Current Affairs

Multi Modal Logistic Park inaugurated at Balli, Goa

Multi Modal Logistics Park at Balli Station near Madgaon in Goa was recently inaugurated. The part is located on Konkan Railway route. It has been set as per MoU entered between Konkan Railway & Container Corporation of India Ltd (CONCOR). It will benefit trade and industry from economic transport solutions and state of art facilities.

Key Facts

The facility is initially spread over 81,300 square meters with scope for expansion with traffic growth in future. It can handle both domestic and exim container traffic. In addition, it can also handle commodities transported by both open and covered wagons. It has 5000 square meters of Custom Bonded Warehousing space. It will also provide host of value added services like stuffing, repackaging etc.

Significance

The park from its economic transport solutions and state of the art facilities will benefit both trade and industry in Goa. It will generate additional source of revenue for Konkan Railway. The container depot at park will reduce time required to cover distance between JNPT port (Mumbai) and Goa via road in 30-40 hrs from 16 to 18 hrs. Thus, it will save time, along with cost of transportation and relieve congestion on road and fuel.

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Lok Sabha passes Central Road Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2017

The Lok Sabha has unanimously passed Central Road Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2017. The Bill seeks to amend the Central Road Fund (CRF) Act, 2000.

The CRF Act regulates Central Road Fund (CRF) into which cess levied and collected on high speed petrol and diesel is credited for development of national and state highways.

Central Road Fund (CRF)

CRF was established to fund development and maintenance of National Highways, State Highways and Rural roads by the Government. In order to mobilise the fund, the CRF Act has proposed to levy and collect cess on petrol and high speed diesel oil. The fund is utilised for development and maintenance of National highways, State Highways, Rural roads and also road overbridges, under bridges and other safety features at unmanned Railway Crossings.

Key Features of Bill

The Bill seeks to allocate share of this cess towards development of inland waterways. The Bill defines national waterways as those under National Waterways Act, 2016.  Currently, 111 waterways are specified under this Act.

Utilization of fund: The Bill provides that in addition to utilization of this fund for various road projects, it will also be used for the development and maintenance of national waterways.

Power of central government: The Bill expands power of central government for administering the fund for the purpose of investment decisions for national waterways as well.

Allocation of cess: The Bill decreases allocation of cess towards development and maintenance of national highways from 41.5% to 39%.  It allocates 2.5% of cess towards development and maintenance of national waterways.

Need

National Waterways is cost effective, environment friendly and logistically efficient mode of transportation. Its development will serve as supplementary to existing transportation modes that will enable diversion of traffic from over-congested roads and railways.

The National Waterways Act, 2016 enacted by Parliament had increased total number of national waterways to 111 from earlier 5. In order to develop national waterways with modern infrastructure, sustainable source of funding is needed as a budgetary support as funds from multilateral institutions are inadequate. The Central Road Fund (CRF) arrangement will make available adequate and sustainable source of funding for NWs through institutional means.

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