The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has initiated several projects to bring the northeastern region closer by further strengthening Centre’s Act East Policy.
“IWAI is also working towards furthering India’s Act East Policy and the Government’s focus on development of North Eastern Region (NER). While NW-2 (river Brahmaputra) is already operational, development work on NW-16 (river Barak) has also been initiated,” a government official told Northeast Now.
In 2017-18, 5.6 lakh tonnes of cargo was moved through IWT in NER. To enhance access to NER through waterways, the work for awarding dredging along two identified routes, Sirajganj – Daikhawa and Ashuganj – Zakiganj has been initiated.
Meanwhile, the Rs 169.59 crore Multi Modal Terminal (MMT) being built at Varanasi by Inland Waterways Authority of India under Jal Marg Vikas project, is set to be completed by November this year. This would be a major landmark for the project. The construction of the Rs.280. 90 crore MMT at Sahibganj is to be completed by May, 2019, and the one at Haldia, being constructed at a cost of Rs.517.36 crore, is scheduled to be completed by December 2019.
In addition to this the work on the Rs.359.20 crore state-of-the-art navigational lock at Farakka is to be completed by June, 2019. Contract for maintenance dredging in the Farakka-Kahalgaon stretch of the river was awarded in April, 2018, for Rs.150 crore, and work on this has started. The works for constructing two Inter-Modal Terminals (IMT) on NW-1 at Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh and Kalughat in Bihar will begin this year.
Jal Marg Vikas is a Rs 5369 crore World Bank aided project on National Waterway 1 (River Ganga), aimed at augmenting the navigational capacity of the Varanasi to Haldia stretch of the river, to enable commercial navigation of at least 1500-2000 tonnes vessels. The project includes construction/setting up of multi-modal terminals at Varanasi, Sahibganj and Haldia, , IMTs, navigational lock, Ro-Ro terminals, jetties, river information system, vessel repair and maintenance facilities, fairway development, channel marking, river training and conservancy works.