• Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

Sarbananda Sonowal Reviews Inland Water Transport Projects at IWAI Headquarters

The Union Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, visited the Noida Head Office of the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI). During his visit, Shri Sonowal was briefed about the status of the 111 National Waterways in the country and how inland waterways are emerging as a sustainable mode of transportation to complement roadways and railways.

While interacting with senior officials of IWAI, the Minister emphasized the need to develop national waterways across the country and to significantly increase passenger and freight movement on waterways. He praised the efforts made to promote river cruise tourism in the country and recent initiatives such as the introduction of Hybrid Electric Catamaran vessels and the country’s first Hydrogen Vessel.

Additionally, Sonowal reviewed the progress of the World Bank-funded Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) on National Waterway (NW) 1 – River Ganga. The Authority is enhancing waterways infrastructure by constructing Multi-Modal Terminals at Varanasi, Sahibganj, and Haldia, and an Inter-Modal Terminal at Kalughat to facilitate freight movement and improve connectivity. IWAI is also installing community jetties to benefit communities residing along the banks of the river Ganga.

“MoPSW is committed towards developing a robust inland water transport system. By enhancing India’s national waterways, MoPSW and IWAI together aims to boost economic growth and ensure efficient, sustainable transportation options for the nation, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a ‘New India’ with world-class infrastructure,” said Sarbananda Sonowal.

During the interaction at IWAI, the minister unveiled a five-year action plan for developing new national waterways, emphasizing river cruises through targeted campaigns and events to boost tourism. Collaboration with Northeastern Region (NER) states was highlighted, with a robust mechanism in place to ensure effective CSS project implementation. Addressing human resource issues, the minister discussed overcoming challenges in the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route and proposed innovative solutions for expediting Inland Water Transport (IWT) work in Goa, Maharashtra, and Gujarat, leveraging technology and inter-state cooperation to enhance national infrastructure.

Sonowal also assessed the interventions being made by the Authority to promote IWT activities in North Eastern Region especially NW 2, 16 and 31 i.e. Brahmaputra, Barak and Dhansiri rivers in Assam. Initiatives to improve regional connectivity with neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Myanmar were also evaluated.  New technological advancements by IWAI made to improve navigation were also showcased to the Union Minister. This included initiatives like PANI – Portal for Assets and Navigational Information, RIS – River Information System, CAR-D for collection and compilation, analyses and dissemination of cargo and cruise movement data and also future projects like Central Database and National River Traffic and Navigation System among others.

As a symbol of growth and prosperity, Shri Sonowal also planted a sapling in the premises of IWAI in the presence of Vijay Kumar, Chairman, IWAI, R. Lakshmanan, Joint Secretary (IWT) MoPSW, Sunil Kumar SINGH, Vice Chairman, IWAI and other senior officials of the Authority.

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