Adequate resources should be made available to facilitate well connected water transport system throughout the country as it is environment-friendly and efficient, a Parliamentary panel today said.

A Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture headed by Sitaram Yechury has recommended making available adequate resources in order to have a well connected water transport facilities throughout the country.

“Water transport is cheaper, can handle huge volumes of cargo and less impact on environment,” the Committee said.

Inland waterway is a body of water, such as a river, canal or lake, is navigable if it is deep, wide and slow enough for a vessel to pass.

It observed that that a strong inland water transport system would be able to handle an efficient, cheaper and environment-friendly cargo transport system.

The committee also said India is richly endowed with navigable waterways, comprising rivers, canals, backwaters, creeks etc. that can be developed as alternate mode of transportation in the coming years.

“Lack of maintenance and sufficient funds are the main reasons for insignificant use of national waterways,” it added.

There are five national waterways so far, of which only three are operational and rest of two are to be started since last three years.

It further recommended that adequate funds need to be allocated separately for maintenance and development of the national waterways which are presently in use.

The Committee had recommended Rs 10,500 crore investments for developing the waterways but only an amount of Rs 1,500 crore have been allocated for them of which approximately Rs 1,168 crore has been incurred so far.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Shipping has said that it is exploring a number of ways to increase share of inland waterways in the country.

(This article was published on February 27, 2013)
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