Eight more wa­ter­ways ready to be oper­a­tional

Na­tional Wa­ter­ways-1 cov­er­ing 1,620 km through Ut­tar Pradesh, Bi­har, Jhark­hand and West Ben­gal has been opened re­cently.

The Sunday Guardian - - & Comment Analysis -

Trans­port and High­ways.

The wa­ter­ways de­vel­op­ment work is be­ing taken care of by the Min­istry headed by Nitin Gad­kari.

In or­der to boost freight trans­port through wa­ter­ways, the Naren­dra Modiled gov­ern­ment had of­fi­cially no­ti­fied 111 wa­ter­ways for de­vel­op­ment of In­land Wa­ter Trans­porta­tion (IWT) as per the Na­tional Wa­ter­ways Act, 2016.

Ac­cord­ing to the sta­tus re­port on the progress of wa­ter­ways, the prom­i­nent wa­ter­ways that are to be open soon in­clude, Wa­ter­ways-2 that runs through the Brahma­pu­tra River ( DhubriSadiya) sys­tem and cov­ers 891 km dis­tance of ma­jor junc­tions of As­sam, Wa­ter­ways-3, that runs through the West Coast Canal (Kot­ta­pu­ram-Kol­lam), Cham­pakara and Udyo­g­man­dal canals of Ker­ala, cov­er­ing 205 km of the state; New Wa­ter­ways 97, that cov­ers 201 km through the Sun­der­bans in West Ben­gal, and Wa­ter­ways 100 that runs through the Tapi River in Gua­jrat and cov­ers 173 km.

Fea­si­bil­ity tests for move­ment of in­land cargo in all the above-men­tioned wa­ter­ways have al­ready been com­pleted and cur­rently, the cargo test runs are be­ing con­ducted by the Min­istry, ac­cord­ing to the sta­tus re­port.

“The gov­ern­ment is work­ing to de­velop in­land wa­ter­ways as an al­ter­na­tive mode of trans­port in the coun­try, which is cleaner and cheaper than both road and rail trans­port. Fea­si­bil­ity tests have been com­pleted on nine wa­ter­ways and the ten­der­ing process for the fea­si­bil­ity tests to as­sess the vi­a­bil­ity of cargo move­ment in wa­ter­ways 16, 37, 27, 68 and 86 is on,” the same sta­tus re­port reads.

Dhiren­dra Singh, a for­mer of­fi­cial of Ship­ping Cor­po­ra­tion of In­dia, said: “The flag­ging off of Pep­siCo’s 16 con­tain­ers from Kolkata to Varanasi through Na­tional Wa­ter­ways-1 is in­deed a his­tor­i­cal feat for the freight move­ment sys­tem of the coun­try. This de­vel­op­ment has come at a time when the de­mand for ef­fi­cient and cheaper lo­gis­tics move­ment ev­ery year is ris­ing in the coun­try.”

“In­dia has nearly 14,500 km of nav­i­ga­ble wa­ter­ways, about 5,200 km of rivers and 4,000 km of canals. The util­i­sa­tion of this vast net­work is abysmally low and this has put enor­mous pres­sure on the ex­ist­ing road and rail net­work in­fra­struc­ture,” Singh said.

The cur­rent land­scape of the in­land cargo move­ment of the coun­try is abysmal and ac­cord­ing to World Bank data, In­dia’s freight move­ment through wa­ter­ways has an in­signif­i­cant share of 0.5% till date com­pared to 65% by road and 27% by rail.

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