Brahmaputra River Current Affairs - 2020

Iwai Ship Carrying Bhutanese Cargo flagged off from Assam to Bangladesh

In a first ever movement of its kind, IWAI (Inland Waterways Authority of India) ship carrying Bhutanese cargo was flagged off from Dhubri in Assam to Narayanganj in Bangladesh over Brahmaputra River and the Indo Bangladesh Protocol Route.

The cargo carrying stone from Bhutan to be delivered in Bangladesh was digitally flagged-off by Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State for Shipping (Independent Charge) and Chemical & Fertilizers.

Key Highlights

Background: Until now, Bhutan has been exporting significant quantity of stone aggregates to Bangladesh via land route by trucks from Phuentsholing in Bhutan which is 160 KMs from IWAI’s Dhubri jetty in Assam. This new route development is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of promoting cargo transportation via inland waterways.

Iwai Ship carries 1000 MT of stones aggregates i.e. about 70 trucks would be required to transport the same cargo by road. In return journey of the vessel Bangladesh will send jute and rice to Bhutan in same vessel.

Benefits

This move will strengthen relations between the neighbouring countries thus will be beneficial to all countries involved i.e. India, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

The transport of cargo via this route will reduce travel time by 8 to 10 days, and will cut down transportation cost by 30%, bringing down logistics costs.

It will also be more environment friendly mode of transport.

Other than strengthening India’s ties with its neighbouring countries, this new development will also open up an alternate route to country’s North Eastern states, making it easier and cheaper to reach goods to these places from other parts of the country.

Dredging undertaken along Ship route:

Capital dredging was carried out to maintain an assured draft in navigation channel

Maintenance dredging will be carried out as and when required

Importance: This is for the 1st time ever, an Indian waterway is being used for transport of cargo between two countries, using India for transit.

Steps Taken by Government for promoting Inland Waterways

Currently, at least 10 other National Waterways are under development.

Centre government is also undertaking many initiatives to increase use of Inland Waterways and Coastal Shipping for greater cargo shipment such as providing assured depth of water in channels, terminals at regular intervals, navigation aids (ex- GPS and River Information System), facilities for mechanized handling of cargo handling etc.

At major ports of country a minimum 40 % discount and priority in berthing is being given to coastal vessels.

Central Government has also provided Licensing relaxations under section 406 and 407 of Merchant Shipping Act 1958 for fisheries/animal husbandry products/fertilizers/horticultural/agricultural products/empty containers as well as containers being transshipped from another Indian port, special vessels such as Ro-Ro (Roll-on/roll-off), Ro-Pax (roll-on/roll-off passenger), Project cargo/ Over Dimensional Cargo (ODC).

 

India and ADB sign Loan Agreement of $60 million for Assam

Government of India and Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a loan agreement of $60 million for financing project for renovation, protection and community-based flood risk management activities along the Brahmaputra river in Assam. The objective of the program is to enhance the reliability and effectiveness of flood and river bank erosion risk management systems in Assam. Duration of the loan is 20 years with the grace period of five years. Interest rates are determined by ADB based on London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) and commitment charge of 0.15% per year.

Key Facts

In 2010, ADB had approved the Tranch 2 Loan of $120 million for Assam Integrated Flood and River Bank Erosion Risk Management Investment Program. The Project 2 of the program will help to fund the structural and non-structural measures in three sub Project areas – Palasbari Gumi, Kaziranga and Dibrugarh along the Brahmaputra river which covers 20 km of riverbank protection work and flood embankments upto 13 km.

The executing and implementing agencies for this project are Flood and River Erosion Management Agency of Assam and Assam State Disaster Management Authority. The project will create and strengthen disaster management system and knowledge base for flood forecasting.

Brahmaputra River

The river originates from Mansarovar Lake in Himalayas in Tibet with the name Yarlung Tsangpo.  It is one of the major rivers of Asia flowing in China, India and Bangladesh. The river has different names along its path. It is known as Yarlung Tsangpo in China, and Brahamputra in India. When it enters Bangladesh, it is called Jamuna river before merging with Ganga and finally Meghna when it drains into Bay of Bengal.

Asian Development Bank

It is a Multilateral development bank established on 19th December 1966 with objective to promote social and economic development in Asia. It is headquartered at Manila, Philippines. The President of the bank is Takehiko Nakao. Presently 67 countries are the member of ADB and Japan and United States are the largest shareholders of the bank. Other shareholders include China, India and Australia.