Sarbananda Sonowal
Union minister Sarbananda Sarbananda Sonowal addressing the stakeholders' conclave on“Waterways as Engine for Growth”.

Union minister of ports, shipping and waterways Sarbananda Sonowal on Friday announced that as per the request of Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, his ministry would set up a maritime institute in the state.

The Union Cabinet minister made the announcement while speaking at the Stakeholders Conclave on ‘Waterways as Engine for Growth’ in Guwahati on Friday.

Urging the local exporters to take advantage of the waterways for transportation of their cargos, the Union minister called upon all the Northeast states to prepare proposals for developing the existing waterways of their respective states.

The Union minister urged the exporters and the business communities to come forward and take advantage of this mode of transportation.

While addressing the stakeholders, Sonowal said, “The Centre will continue working on the development of the connectivity of Northeast with neighbouring countries through waterways, but it is your responsibility to take benefit of that development.”

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma also attended the conclave in the presence of Assam industries, transport minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, water resources minister Pijush Hazarika, Union MoS for MoPSW Shantanu Thakur and several other ministers from the northeastern states.

Several issues for harnessing the potential of the waterways of the North-Eastern region for its proper utilization were discussed during the conclave.

Speaking on the occasion, Assam chief minister Sarma said while the potentiality of waterways in the region remained dormant for a long period after Independence, it was under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the waterways sector received new momentum in the Northeast.

Stating waterways as the cheapest and a very eco-friendly medium of transportation, the chief minister urged the exporters and business communities to come forward to take advantage of the waterways.

The chief minister thanked Union minister Sonowal for his initiatives in rejuvenating the waterways sector for the benefit of the northeastern region.

He said as 95% of the county’s trade takes place through waterways, a very lucrative career option is available in this sector for the young generation.

Chief minister Sarma further urged the Cochin Shipyard Limited to design some good quality river ambulances for providing better medical services to the riverine population of the state.

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