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Shipping & Waterways Ministry approves Rs 645 cr for 10 new waterways projects on Brahmaputra in Assam
Inland Waterways
A view of the Brahmaputra River in Assam. (Photo Courtesy: Pixabay)

Shipping & Waterways Ministry approves Rs 645 cr for 10 new waterways projects on Brahmaputra in Assam

| @indiablooms | 16 Mar 2024, 12:54 am

New Delhi: Shipping & Waterways Minister Sarbananda Sonowal announced a major investment of more than Rs 645 crores to develop 10 waterways projects on Brahmaputra River under the flagship Sagarmala programme.

The projects will be implemented with 100% financial assistance from the Central government to enhance terminals and riverine infrastructure along the River Brahmaputra (National Waterways 2) to boost connectivity and foster economic growth.

"From the construction of slipways at strategic locations such as Maya Ghat in Dhubri district and Majuli district to the establishment of passenger terminals at Ghagor in North Lakhimpur district and Bahari in Barpeta district, each proposal is designed to enhance connectivity and facilitate seamless transportation across the region," the ministry said.

Additional passenger terminals are set to be established in Goalpara, Guijan, Kurua, Dhubri, Disangmukh, and Matmora, catering to the diverse needs of different districts within Assam.

These ten projects will enhance transportation efficiency, and stimulate industrial development and trade in the region.

On the occasion, Sonowal said, “Brahmaputra (NW 2) has been the lifeline for the people of northeast and Assam. These 10 new projects, which will be developed under the prestigious Sagarmala programme of the Govt of India, are designed to boost connectivity, smoothen and upgrade public transportation and nourish economic growth. These Sagarmala projects will be developed building on ferry infrastructure, fleet modernisation, and boost last-mile connectivity."

Sonowal said the projects are under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to harness the power of Brahmaputra and develop the waterways to develop an alternative, economic, environmentally sound, and effective mode of transportation.

With the development of North-Eastern states in focus, including Assam, projects exceeding Rs 1,000 crore have been initiated under the Sagarmala program, the ministry said.

In Assam, projects exceeding Rs 760 crore are currently underway, signifying the government's dedication to the region's progress.

The MoPSW is also developing River tourism and water sports along the Brahmaputra under which seven tourist jetties will be constructed at Oriumghat, Bhupen Hazarika Setu, Koliabhom ora Bridge at Tezpur, Bogibeel Bridge, Dikhow Mukh, Kalongmukh and Uzanbazar in Guwahati.

With the prioritisation of port infrastructure expansion and the development of mega ports with capacities exceeding 300 and 500 million tonnes per annum (MTPA), coupled with efforts to boost the share of Inland Water Transport (IWT) to 5% by 2030 under the Maritime India Vision (MIV), the government is charting a comprehensive course towards a brighter maritime future for India.

Development of an Eastern Grid – at the Brahmaputra and Barak rivers along with Ganga and Sundarbans – will boost regional integration and trade with South Asia and Eastern South Asia. Eastern Grid can unlock a multi-lateral trade potential of $49 billion dollars.

The government has spent Rs 1,040 crores on the development of waterways which has resulted in the operation of 20 Waterways in NER which was only ‘ONE’ till 2014.

With the initiatives taken in the last 9 years, the cargo handled via the Indo Bangladesh Protocol route (IBPR) has increased to 170%.

It is also noteworthy that the first Ship Repair facility, with an investment worth Rs 208 crores, in NER is being developed through Hooghly-Cochin Shipyard Limited (HCSL) at Pandu along River Brahmaputra.

The minister recently inaugurated a Passenger-cum-Cargo terminal at Bogibeel near Dibrugarh built with an investment of nearly Rs 50 crore; Inland waterways terminal at Sonamura is developed with an investment of Rs 6.91 crore;

The upgraded terminals at Karimganj and Badarpur are completed with an investment of Rs 6.40 crore.

Several transformative projects are set to revolutionize waterway transportation and tourism infrastructure in the North-East Region (NER).

This includes the construction of six tourist jetties in Jogighopa, Tejpur, Bishwanathghat, Neamati, Sadiya, and Bindakota, with a total investment of Rs 8.45 crore.

Adding to this enhancement, two Electric Catamarans, developed by Cochin Shipyard Limited at a cost of Rs 36 crore, will be deployed in Guwahati by August 2024, greatly improving communication facilities.

Moreover, the provision of 19 passenger vessels for NW-2 & NW-16 and the construction of two Pontoon Terminals on NW-2, with an investment of Rs 25 crore, further solidify the region's connectivity.

Dredging operations by the Dredging Corporation of India in NER, spanning several critical stretches, will be carried out at Rs 124 crore, ensuring navigational safety and efficiency.

Additionally, the construction of an integrated office for Immigration, Customs & IWAI at Bogibeel, alongside bank protection and extension of the jetty at Bogibeel Terminal, signifies a comprehensive approach to infrastructure development.

The Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route developed jointly by India and Bangladesh at an estimated cost of Rs 305.84 crores provides alternate connectivity for all North-eastern states from Guwahati and Jogighopa to Kolkata and Haldia ports.

The Sirajganj-Diakhowa (175 km) on River Jamuna and Ashuganj-Zakiganj (295km) of River Kushiyara on the IBP routes are being developed to connect with River Brahmaputra and River Barak (NW-16) in Assam.

With ongoing projects like Comprehensive development of NW-2, Ship repair facility at Pandu (Rs 208 crore), Jogighopa Inland Waterways terminal (Rs 64 crore ), and last mile connectivity to Pandu port through alternative road from Pandu Port to NH-27 (Rs 180 crore ), the region is poised for remarkable growth and prosperity in its maritime sector.

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