MUMBAI: The government will invest over Rs 10,000 crore in the development of inland waterways in the next 3-5 years, with aid from the World Bank. “We are undertaking a major project on the Ganges, which is the national water-1. We aim to make the river navigatable with 3m draft, 2.5m draft and 2.2 m draft over the stretches so that 1500- 2,000 ton ships can move throughout the year,” Nutan Guha Biswas, chairperson, Inland Waterways Authority of India, Ministry of Shipping, told The New Indian Express.
World Bank will provide rs 5,369 crore for the navigation project from Varanasi to Haldia. Rest of the funds will be used in developing 106 notified inland waterways.
“The other rs 5,000 crore will be invested in developing the other 106 notified waterways in the next five years to harness the potential of inland waterways and make it economically viable,” she added. The work has already been started on the Ganges since the last two years to develop multimodal terminals in Varanasi, Sahebganj and Haldia to connect the rivers through roads and railways and directly transfer the freight from one source to another.
He added that they aim to complete the project by 2020. At present, 6 million tonnes of cargo moves on the Ganges in one year and by 2020, Biswas said that they need to have 21 million tonnes of cargo moving.
However, she added that Yamuna river inland waterways project might not see much development in near future. “We are doing a detailed project report on it. Water is scarce in Yamuna so we really need to be sure how we can go ahead. It is also used for drinking purposes,” Biswas said.