New Delhi: Minister of State for Shipping (Independent Charge), Chemical, and Fertilizers, Mansukh Mandaviya while addressing a press conference said that inland waterways is one of the most important pillars of the ‘Arth-Ganga’ project, which will result into inclusive growth and play a key role in generation of enormous employment opportunities in the National Waterways stretch.
Mandaviya said, “Almost half of the Indian population lives around Ganga River belt in which about 1/5th of all India’s freight originates and 1/3rd terminates in the states around Ganga Belt.”
The Ministry of Shipping has taken several initiatives in last few years which has resulted into substantial growth in terms of increasing inland cruises from 3 to 9, cargo from 30,00,000 MT to 70,00,000 MT, and vessels in-flow from 300 to 700.
A lot of activities like developing of small jetties by Ministry of Shipping have been carried out for the benefit of the community especially for farmers and traders in the 1,400km stretch of National Waterways 1 (Varanasi to Haldia). The farmers will get better returns for their produce as the transportation of goods would become easier and more cost-effective. It will improve ‘Ease of Living’ and ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in that area.
Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is deploying small floating jetties and ten ro-ro vessels for easier and cost-effective transportation of goods/cargo.
Mandaviya further said that the Ministry of Shipping is developing Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) freight village and Sahibganj (Jharkhand) industrial cluster-cum-logistics park with an objective of creating synergy with Inland Waterways at the cost of Rs 200 crore. This will create enormous direct and indirect employment, giving an economical boost in this particular area.
Mandaviya also added that India has always supported Nepal in its economic transformation. National Waterways – 1 will act as the main conduit of connection with Nepal in a trilateral manner, from Varanasi to Nautanwa (280km), Kaughat to Raxaul (204km) and Sahibganj to Biratnagar (233km).
Earlier Nepal was connected by Kolkata and Visakhapatnam Ports for transporting cargo. Now, inland waterways, particularly National Waterways – 1 will be allowed under Treaty for Transit of Cargo between Government of India and Government of Nepal. It will save logistics costs and also decongest Kolkata Port.