Inland Waterways Authority of India starts work on converting 106 rivers into national waterways

Source: The Economic Times, Jan 20, 2017

aNEW DELHI: Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has begun the preparatory works on converting 106 rivers into National Waterways (NWs) by making them navigable. 106 rivers across the country were declared national waterways by the government in April 2016. These rivers would be used to move freight cargo.

In phase I, 8 waterways are being considered for development. Some of the states that the eight NWs would cover, include Bihar (NW-37, Gandak & NW-58 , Kosi), Uttar Pradesh (NW-40 Ghaghra), Goa (NW-68, Mandovi, NW-111, Zuari and NW-27, Cumberjua Canal), West Bengal (NW-97, Sunderban), and Assam (NW-16, Barak).

“While the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for these waterways are ready, the tender process for fairway development of two NWs namely river Barak in Assam and Ghaghra in Uttar Pradesh respectively have been initiated. For Goa waterways, the tenders for construction of jetties would be taken up shortly,” a statement from IWAI said.

For another 46 waterways, which are in coastal & tidal regions, two stage DPR studies have been initiated. These reports are in the final stage of preparation. Based on the recommendations, further development works would be under taken.

Of the remaining 52 waterways which are in remote, inaccessible and hilly regions, only feasibility studies have been ordered. Field surveys in 44 NWs have been completed and are in progress in another 4. Draft feasibility report of 36 NWs have been received and are under evaluation.

With just 0.6% of India’s freight transported through the inland waterway route despite vast network of rivers across its geographical corner that form about 20,000 Km of navigable waterways, the need for developing additional National Waterway is essential.

Transportation through inland waterways comes with inherent advantage of being cost effective and environment friendly.

To tap the possibilities of this mode of transportation Government of India declared 106 new waterways in April 2016.

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