10 waterways to be made operational next year: Gadkari

Press Trust of India New Delhi | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on May 29, 2017

Cabinet approved ₹2,000 crore for waterways development last week

Having secured ₹2,000 crore from a central fund for development of water transport, operationalising at least 10 of the 111 National Waterways next year is on the top of government’s agenda, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has said.

The government last week approved allocation of 2.5 per cent of the Central Road Fund (CRF) for NWs that would result in about ₹2,000 crore proceeds a year for their development.

“The Cabinet has approved ₹2,000 crore from CFR and we can easily get works done worth ₹12,000 crore from that by raising more funds. It is my endeavour to operationalise 10 waterways before December 2018,” the Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Minister told PTI in an interview.

Massive work worth ₹5,000 crore is already underway on Ganga (1,620 km) with World Bank assistance which is the National Waterway No 1.

The work includes development of three multi-modal hubs at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Haldia in West Bengal and Sahebganj in Bihar.

The Inland Waterways Authority of India, under the Shipping Ministry, is also facilitating cruise operations on NW-1 from Kolkata to Varanasi in collaboration with private cruise operators.

Gadkari said that apart from Ganga, development of NW-2 which is Brahmaputra (890 km stretch) is also top on the agenda of the government.

“After Ganga and Brahmaputra, work will begin on Mandavi and Zuari in next three months,” he said.

The third project will be Amba and then on Brahmani river between Talcher and Paradip.

The Shipping Ministry has a target to start work on 24 NWs in the next three years.

Parliament last year had enacted National Waterways Act, 2016, for developing and maintaining the existing five NWs and 106 new NWs across the country.

The Cabinet earlier this month has approved allocation of 2.5 per cent of CRF which is a duty on excise and customs imposed on petrol and high speed diesel for waterways development. The cess at present is ₹6 per litre.

It has also directed that while implementing viable NWs projects, all such components that can be done on PPP basis, should be explored and government funding may be used only if private investment is not forthcoming.

₹80,800 crore were collected CRF in 2016-17, ₹69,540 crore in 2015-16 and ₹25,122 crore in 2014-15.

The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has estimated that approximately ₹25,000 crore would be required for development of identified projects on NWs till 2022-23.

Published on May 29, 2017
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