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IWAI to build more community jetties, execute dredging to boost river tourism in Bengal

Posted on January 10, 2024

Kolkata: In a bid to boost the inland transportation and river tourism in Bengal, the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) will be building several community jetties in the state while is carrying out dredging in several river channels, including near the Bangladesh border, to increase depth of water for river transportation.

For the first time, the Inland Waterways Development Council (IWDC) held a meeting on Monday in Kolkata where several decisions were taken to boost inland water transportation.

Speaking on the matter, Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Minister of Port, Shipping & Waterways told the media that the IWDC has pegged Rs. 45,000 crores for development of river cruise tourism.

‘The government, in alignment with its vision to enhance the role of inland water transport (IWT) initiated various measures, including the flagship ‘Jal Marg Vikas’ Project (JMVP) for the development of the Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly river system (NW 1). This project focused on cargo, Ro-Ro, and passenger ferry movement, along with the inclusion of small villages through community jetties,’ he said, highlighting that Syamaprasad Mookerjee Port registered turnaround performance and aims at Rs.550 crore net profit in FY 2023-24.

Santanu Thakur, MoS, Ministry of Port, Shipping & Waterways said, ‘Parallel to developing inland water transportation on Ganga, work is also on in an area of about 250 km near the Indo-Bangladesh border covering the Sunderbans delta. The IWAI has taken up dredging and building special bridges under the ‘Bharatmala’ special programme for border areas. Dredging is being taken up from Farkka to Haldia which is about 550 km at a cost of over 2,000 crores. Starting from Haldia to Varanasi, Ro-Ro vessels, new terminals and jetties are being built. About 35 per cent work is done and the rest 65 per cent is in progress. By 2030, the maximum will be covered.’

An IWAI official said, ‘Talks are on with the West Bengal government. In several rivers in Bengal siltation has increased leading to decrease in water level.

We have been asked by the state to help boost inland water transport. More than 20 community jetties are being built here. We will hand them over to the state government for ferry services. We will give Ro-Ro vessels too.’


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