Unloading cargo from trucks and loading it back onto ships: Modi’s government plans to develop 23 river systems

Unloading cargo from trucks and loading it back onto ships: Modi's government plans to develop 23 river systems
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The government will develop 23 river systems for the movement of cargo and passenger ships, aiming to make more use of inland waterways as a cheaper means of transport, said Ports, Shipping and Waterways Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. The minister didn’t name all 23 river systems but said the government’s focus is on increasing movement through river systems, which are a greener mode of transport and cheap compared to trains and trucks.”So far we have 111 national waterways out of them, we have discovered that there are 23 river systems suitable for navigation,” he told the Press Trust of India news agency.

To encourage inland navigation in the country, 111 waterways have been declared National Waterways (NWs) under the National Waterways Act.

The minister said India’s river systems have great business potential and he urged investors to invest for good returns and explore the untapped potential of this segment. As an example, he cited the MV Ganga Vilas, the world’s longest river cruise, which ended its 50-day voyage in Dibrugarh on Tuesday with German and Swiss tourists on board.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the luxury cruise MV Ganga Vilas on Jan. 13 on the world’s longest river voyage from Varanasi to Dibrugarh.

India plans to invest ₹35,000 crore by 2047 to create a network of waterways in the country, Sanjay Bandopadhyaya, chairman of the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), said earlier. The plan, to be implemented over the next 25 years, involves the development of waterways and jetties to improve the navigability of India’s rivers.

The minister said that a lot of development will happen along the Brahmaputra River, which will create jobs in large numbers for the people. Construction of a multimodal cargo terminal will begin in Dibrugarh by the end of 2023.

Under the government’s “Arth Ganga” model, small jetties would be built along the Ganges to boost economic activity along the riverbanks in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. This will reduce logistics costs for farmers when transporting local products.

Bulk commodities such as coal, fly ash, and iron ore are economical and inexpensive to transport by inland waterway (inland waterway) transport, which is environmentally friendly and less polluting than rail and road.

The Waterways Minister also gave an example of how waterways reduce logistics costs and also benefit the environment. The state-owned company unloads it at the port of Haldia in West Bengal, from where it is trucked to Dibrugarh in Assam. “Movement is by 500 trucks daily, causing environmental pollution. When brought through the river system. It’s going to be cheaper and greener,” Sonowal said.

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