Haldia-Guwahati Inland Waterways Services to Start Soon, Says Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal

NEW DELHI/Sentinel Assam: Union Shipping Minister Sarbananda Sonowal announced that inland waterways services between Haldia and Guwahati will begin soon.

The contract to connect Guwahati to the rest of the country through inland waterways has been awarded, and services will begin soon. The jetty would transport exim and interior cargo from Haldia to Guwahati’s Pandu terminal, linking the northeast with Kolkata via the National Waterways-2.

According to the minister, cargo movement to and from the northeast to international countries and other Indian states will be simple and cost-effective.

In a response to a query about barge financing, minister Sarbananda Sonowal stated that the government is considering granting bank guarantees for soft funds so that the industry can grow, according to the statement.

the Ministry of Shipping is developing the Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) on National Waterway-1 (NW-1) from Haldia to Varanasi (1390 km) at an estimated cost of Rs. 4,633.81 crores.

The project would allow vessels with a capacity of 1500-2,000 DWT to navigate commercially. NW-1 (River Ganga) is now under development under JMVP, which was signed by the Cabinet Committee for Economic Affairs in January 2018. The NW-1 waterway project is to be finished in December 2023. The implementing agency is India’s Inland Waterways Authority.

On February 2, 2018, the World Bank and Haldia signed a credit agreement for a loan from Varanasi to Haldia.

Bulk products, such as coal, cement, food grains, fertilizers, stone chips, jute, steel, POL, LPG, Tea, containers, water, liquids, and other hazardous goods, as well as over-dimensional cargo, can all be transported across national waterways.

The tenders process is also underway for the civil construction works of the project, the majority of the project works are likely to complete by February 2022.

Earlier, the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) signed an agreement with Hooghly Cochin Shipyard Ltd to establish the first slipway or ship-repairing facility on the banks of the Brahmaputra river, the national waterway-2, at Pandu here, as part of the Act East Policy. In the presence of Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal and Asam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, the agreement was signed.

The facility would be built at a cost of Rs 75 crore on 3.67 acres of land granted by the Assam government at Pandu, with technical assistance from IIT-Madras, and is slated to be finished by August 2023.

Secretary (shipping) Gopal Krishna flagged off a historic container cargo consignment from Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) to the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) terminal at Pandu in Guwahati via the Indo-Bangla protocol route, in line with the government’s focus on improving connectivity to the northeastern region (NER).

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