NEW DELHI: The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is set to launch a Roll on-Roll off (Ro-Ro) service tomorrow in Assam from Neamati to Manjuli island, the Ministry of Shipping said Wednesday.
This service will reduce the road route distance of 423 km that trucks take from Neamati to Majuli Island via Tezpur Road Bridge to only 12.7 km with the use of river route.
Majuli is one of the biggest riverine islands in the world located on river Brahmaputra and faces serious challenges of connectivity. It has 144 villages with a population of over 1,50,000.
"Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) will be starting a new Roll on-Roll off (Ro-Ro) facility in collaboration with the Government of Assam to provide the much-needed connectivity for Majuli Island... This Ro-Ro facility will cut down the circuitous road route of 423 km that trucks take from Neamati to Majuli Island via Tezpur Road Bridge, by limiting the distance to only 12.7 km with the use of river route," the statement said.
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal will flag off the new Ro-Ro service tomorrow.
The IWAI has procured a new vessel MV Bhupen Hazarika at a cost of Rs 9.46 crore for the new service and is providing the needed terminal infrastructure too, it said.
The 46.5-metre-long, 13.3-metre-wide vessel has the carrying capacity of eight trucks and 100 passengers, it added.
The IWAI is also planning to procure more such Ro-Ro vessels for use on river Brahmaputra.
The commencement of Ro-Ro services to Majuli island would be a landmark event towards augmenting connectivity not only in Assam but the entire north eastern region, the government said.
Currently, there are only four road bridges across river Brahmaputra - at Jogighopa, Guwahati, Tezpur and Sadiya for connectivity between southern and northern parts of Assam.
People residing on either side of the river need to cross the river using conventional ferry service at various locations for their day to day needs.
The statement said that in absence of adequate number of bridges, cargo and passenger movement takes through longer road routes leading to critical loss of time and money.
Earlier, IWAI had started a similar Ro-Ro service between Dhubri and Hatsingimari which reduced the travel distance by 190 km. A permanent Ro-Ro terminal was constructed at Dhubri for the purpose.
Floating terminals have also been constructed at 11 locations along the length of the Brahmaputra waterway. These are at Hatsingimari, Dhubri, Jogighopa, Tezpur, Silghat, Biswanathghat, Neamati, Sengajan, Bogibeel, Dibugarh/ Oakland and Oriumghat.