NEW DELHI: The government is committed to developing national waterways, and work on 36 of the 106 newly declared waterways is likely to start by March, IWAI Chairman Jalaj Shrivastava said Friday.
The government declared 106 national waterways in 2016 in addition to the existing five, taking India's total navigable inland waterways to 20,000 km.
"The work on 36 national waterways should begin by March," the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) chief said addressing India Infrastructure Summit here.
He said about 55 million tonne of cargo was handled on national waterways in 2017-18 and given the trend the 150 MT target for 2021-22 is likely to be achieved before the deadline.
He said water transport will also give a fillip to growth by reducing logistics cost in the country.
Shrivastava said 2,000 tonne of cargo could be transported through inland waterways at an operating cost of about Rs 1.12 per tonne in comparison to Rs 3 per tonne through roadways.
He said water transport was not only economical but also environment-friendly and reduced pollution.
The water transport is suitable for a wide range of cargo that includes bulk goods like coal, cement, ores, stone chips, food grains, fertilisers etc besides hazardous goods like POL and chemicals.
In addition, it is the most suitable mode of transport for over dimensional cargo and project cargo, containerised cargo to be transported long distances besides automobiles, roll-on-roll-off etc, he added.
A comprehensive report titled 'Infrastructure and Real Estate: A fulcrum for change and economic growth' was also released during the Summit.