Assam Government launched a project for transformation of the Inland Water Transport (IWT) system on the National Waterways in the state.
The objective of this venture was to develop an efficient river transport system which would be safe, secure and comfortable for the large volume of passenger and cargo carried by vessels by IWT as well as by private boat owners and operators.
This initiative sought to exploit the huge potential, hitherto grossly underutilized in the sector and thereby provide a vibrant mode of transport which, through the ages, was recognized as the most important one in this region.
Accordingly, Assam Government submitted a proposal to the Government of India seeking World Bank assistance to develop the Inland Waterway Transport system in Assam.
The Government of India approved the proposal and posed it to the World Bank for their consideration and approval.
The Government of Assam has taken up a project titled ‘Assam Inland Water Transport Project (AIWTP)’ to improve the quality of inland water transport services and integrate high quality passenger and vehicle ferry services in the Brahmaputra and Barak rivers.
The Assam Inland Water Transport Development Society (AIWTDS) has been formed by the Government of Assam under Transport Department to implement the project.
The project is conceptualized to promote inland water transport as eco-friendly, economic and convenient mode of transport and is aimed to help in regional and economic development of Assam and nearby states by providing better connectivity and access to the hinterland.
To modernize inland water transport in Assam, the World Bank is assisting the Government of Assam through a phase-wise project, which includes procurement of new vessels including passengers carrying and Search and Rescue (SAR) vessels, up-gradation of ferry terminals, retrofitting of existing vessels, institutional capacity development etc.
A loan negotiation for an amount of $110 million has been successfully concluded for Assam Inland Water Transport Project (AIWTP) to be executed by Government of Assam and the World Bank.
The negotiation was carried out in presence of Director, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India at the Country Head office of World Bank at New Delhi.
The Indian delegation on behalf of Government of Assam was represented by Virendra Mittal, state project director, AIWTDS; Dhrubajyoti Das, additional secretary, Transport Department cum Director, IWT, Assam and Rahul Chandra Das, deputy state project director, AIWTDS.
The team representing the Department of Economic Affairs under Ministry of Finance, Government of India team was led by Bandana Preyashi, director, DEA.
The World Bank Team was led by Atul Agarwal, team leader, World Bank.