Union Government to invite bids soon for 36 inland waterways

The Union Government is going to soon float tenders to invite bids for the development for 36 inland waterways projects in the first phase.

This move will help to tap the huge potential in the so-far-untapped inland waterways transport segment despite India being endowed with natural rivers suitable for it.

Background

  • Earlier, Parliament had enacted a legislation allowing 106 rivers across the country to be converted into National Waterways (NWs) in addition to the existing 5 such NWs.
  • The law was enacted in a bid to boost movement of goods and passengers via rivers and reduce transportation costs substantially.

Advantages of Inland water transport

  • It is environment-friendly and cost-effective mode of transportation.
  • It will reduce the logistics costs significantly which are currently as high as 18% in India.
  • India has huge natural geographical potential for inland waterways as 14,500 km of river channels are navigable.
  • Development inland waterways can spur industrial growth and tourism potential along the waterway especially in plain areas of North India.
  • The statutory status to the inland waterways would pave for investments in inland waterways transportation sector which has been neglected in the past.
  • It would provide a cheaper mode of transport and reducing traffic burden and congestion on roads and railways.

Problems

  • Seasonal variations in water level especially in the rain-fed rivers of the peninsula may cause hindrance to inland waterway projects.
  • Diversion of river water for irrigation, industrial and domestic purpose may affect the viability of these projects.
  • Inland waterways may cause serious environmental threat to Gangetic river dolphins, national Aquatic animal of India.

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Categories: India Current Affairs 2017

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