₹300-cr project to move cargo up the Ganga further

Pratim Ranjan Bose | | Updated on: Jan 22, 2018

IWAI to invite tenders for navigation lock on the 2.2-km-long Farakka Barrage

A navigation lock on the Farakka Barrage can open up almost 200 km of the Ganga for movement of goods.

In October, the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is to invite tenders for setting up such a lock at the 2.2-km-long Farakka Barrage.

The World Bank-assisted ₹300-crore project will allow movement of cargo another 170 km up the Ganga till Barh, near Patna.

What began as an experiment in 2010 to ferry imported coal from the high seas straight to NTPC’s Farakka power station on the Ganga has come a long way. Coal started moving on this 540-km route from October 2014.

A navigation lock is a set of two parallel lockgates that helps boats negotiate different water levels on either side of a barrage.

Lock design finalised

UK-based HR Wallingford has already finalised the design of the lock, which will take two years to complete, said an IWAI official.

Initially, the project will help low-cost transportation of fuel to NTPC’s Barh thermal power station on some 80 barges. More is expected from the ambitious ₹900-crore infrastructure project that is centred around Haldia, in West Bengal.

Multimodal terminal

IWAI is planning a multimodal terminal at the Haldia Port under the Modi Government’s Jal Marg Vikash project.

Having taken possession of the land, IWAI and its consultants, including Hovey Engineering, EQMS India, and Hamburg Port, are working overtime to float the tender for construction by November.

The port already enjoys road and rail connectivity. The Dedicated Freight Corridors Corporation will create additional capacity between Haldia and Dankuni, the terminal point of the upcoming Ludhiana-Dankuni freight corridor.

Till Allahabad

In time, IWAI will extend the scope of movement of goods 1,600 km up the Ganga till Allahabad in UP.

The stretch is officially called the National Waterway–I. The waterway will be used not merely to send coal to Farakka or Barh, but also offer a cheap and effective alternative to rail and road movement of goods.

Eastern UP, Bihar and West Bengal will be the biggest beneficiaries of the project.

Dredging a must

A primary requisite of the project is to ensure navigability along the river. Hydrological data show that it is possible to ensure 2.5 metre draft, beyond Farakka, in the lean season. IWAI officials say they will engage a contractor for regular maintenance dredging to ensure navigability.

“It is a project that will break many barriers,” said an official.

Published on September 10, 2015
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