Monday, 9 December 2013

Development of Inland Waterways in the Country

Inland Waterways
The Union Government undertakes development and regulation of only those waterways which are declared as National Waterways. In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha the Minister of
 Shipping Shri G.K. Vasan said that it is the responsibility of the respective State Governments to develop any other waterways.
Waterways that are being developed as National Waterways (NWs) presently are:
(1) Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly river system (Allahabad-Haldia-1620 km) in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal as NW-1, declared in 1986.
(2)  River Brahmaputra (Dhubri-Sadiya-891 km) in the state of Assam as NW-2 declared in 1988.
(3) West Coast Canal (Kottapuram-Kollam) along with Udyogmandal andChampakara Canals – (205 km) in the state of Kerala as NW-3 declared in 1993.
(4)  Kakinada-Puducherry Canals along with Godavari and Krishna rivers (1078 km) – in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Union Territory of Puducherry as NW-4 declared in 2008.
(5) East Coast Canal integrated with Brahmani river and Mahanadi delta rivers (588 km) in the states of West Bengal and Odisha as NW-5 declared in 2008.

 The minister said that the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is developing the first three National Waterways for shipping and navigation by providing a navigational channel with targeted depth
 & width for most part of the year. These are provided with aids for day and night navigation, fixed/floating terminals at selected locations for berthing and loading/unloading of vessels and intermodal
 connectivity at a few selected locations.  For development of National Waterway-4 and 5, IWAI has explored the feasibility of developing commercially viable stretches under Public Private Partnership (PPP)
 mode with Viability Gap Funding (VGF). 

Inland Water Transport is economically cheaper compared to road and rail and is environment friendly and suitable for bulk cargo.  A project of transportation of 3 million tonne per annum of imported coal for 7 years from Haldia (Sandheads) to NTPC’s Power Plant at Farakkathrough National Waterway-1 is already under implementation, Shri Vasan added. IWAI has also identified more such projectswhich, inter-alia, includes transportation of coal for NTPC’s Power Plant atBarh (near Patna), transportation of coal from NTPC’s Power Plant at Bongaigoan(Near Jogighopa on National Waterway-2), transportation of fertilizers on NW-1 and transportation of food grains from Kolkata to Tripura through Indo-Bangladesh Protocol routes.  
Cargo movement in National Waterways include fly ash from Kolkata to Bangladesh, over dimensional cargo and other general cargo.  River cruises too have been in operation on National Waterway-1, 2 & 3, the minister informed the house.

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