Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush, Sarbananda Sonowal reviewed various projects under implementation around North-east region by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) at a review meeting held in Silchar, today.
The Union Minister reviewed the progress made on the renovation of existing shore facilities at Badarpur Terminal and renovation of existing shore facilities at Karimganj Terminal during his visit.
Sonowal directed the officials to take all necessary measures including dredging, in order to ensure smooth passage of cargo vessels on NW 2 (Brahmaputra) and NW 16 (Barak). The Minister was accompanied by the Minister of Transport, Fisheries and Excise, Parimal Shuklabaidya; Dr Rajdeep Roy, MP, Silchar; Kripanath Mallah, MP, Karimganj; MLA of Udharbond, Mihir Kanti Shome among other senior officials of IWAI, MoPSW and Government of Assam.
Speaking on the occasion, the Sonowal said, “The Northeast India is rich and its richness must reach the world in order to make people aware about our rich heritage & resources. Inland Waterways comes as a wonderful avenue for us – the people of Northeast – to take our produce out into the global trade map in an efficient and economic way. Under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, we are working towards unlocking this huge potential of the Northeast through enabling our river systems to act as a conduit of growth and development. As the engine of New India’s growth story, the Northeast has a huge role to play in enabling this vision. Waterways plays a crucial role to reach out the interiors of our region and open the doors of opportunity in trade, service in the global market. We are working steadfastly towards this.”
IWAI is carrying out the work for Renovation of IWAI terminals at Badarpur along NW- 16 (river Barak) and Karimganj along IBP route (river Kushiyara) in Karimganj District of Assam through CPWD on deposit work basis. To maintain the Fairway on river Barak, dredging work to be undertaken by Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) between Bhanga to Badarpur (10.50 kms) of NW16 for an estimated cost of ₹45 crores for a 3 year period. The hydrographic survey in No man’s land of river Kushiyara between India and Bangladesh has been conducted by joint team of IWAI and BIWTA, Govt. of Bangladesh in the last week of October 2022.
The Barak River is the lifeline of this region. Keeping in mind the huge potential of economic growth in this region, Shri Sonowal took stock of the progress of various developmental projects going on this region, especially in the Barak valley. This is in line with the ‘Act East’ Policy. The river from Bhanga to Lakhipur (121 km) has been declared as National Waterway16 (NW16). It connects Barak Valley with NW1 and rest of India through IBP route 3 & 4 and with NW2 (river Brahmaputra) through IBP route 7 & 8. IWAI terminals play a major role for trade in the Barak Valley and adjoining areas. Karimganj terminal is a notified Port of Call and Badarpur is an Extended Port of Call in NW16. The export through IWT has grown manifolds in the recent years and export in FY 2022-23 is already more than 3 times (total 53 vessels carrying 9987 MT) of that in FY 2021-22 (total 18 vessels carrying 2490 MT). With the renovation of the terminals will further easy and increase the export activities & commodities. The projects have major influence in districts of Cachar, Karimganj & Hailakandi in Assam and adjoining states of Mizoram, Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya, given the presence of cement industry, stone crushers, coal deposits, food processing units, tea estates, etc.