New Delhi, Mar 24 (IANS): On the basis of the outcome of techno-economic feasibility study and Detailed Project Report (DPR) of National Waterways (NWs), an action plan has been formulated for 26 NWs which were found viable for cargo and passenger movement.
To promote Inland Water Transport in the country through rivers, 111 waterways including the 5 previously notified National Waterways (NWs) have been declared as National Waterways under the National Waterways Act, 2016.
Currently, development initiatives have been taken up in 18 NWs.
As per a written reply by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, steps taken for growth of Cargo transportation on waterways include Fairway development works to ensure Least Available Depth (LAD) of 3 meter in Haldia-Barh, 2.5 meter in Barh-Ghazipur and 2.2 meter in Ghazipur-Varanasi stretches on NW-1 are in progress under the JalMargVikas Project (JMVP) which has been undertaken by IWAI with technical and financial assistance from World Bank.
Similarly, to improve the connectivity between NW-1 and NW-2/NW-16 via the India-Bangladesh protocol route, the critical and shallow stretches between Sirajganj and Daikhowa on protocol route No 1 and 2 and Ashuganj and Zakiganj on protocol route no 3 and 4 in Bangladesh are being jointly developed by India and Bangladesh for round the year navigability (with targeted LAD of 2.5 m).
Similarly, fairway development works are being carried out on NW-97 in Sunderbans to allow smooth navigation of vessels on the India-Bangladesh Protocol Route.
IWAI has identified 26 new NWs through techno-economic feasibility studies for undertaking technical interventions to make the waterways navigable for transportation purposes.
Once ready, these new waterways will provide an alternate mode of transportation in respective geographies, said the reply.
Taking ahead the vision of the Central government to promote Inland Waterways as a supplementary mode of transport, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has considered waiver of waterway user charges initially for a period of three years, said the reply.