Inland Waterways Current Affairs - 2020

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India-World Bank sign 88 million USD to implement Assam Inland Water Transport Project

On January 16, 2020, the Government of Assam, Government of India and World Bank signed 88 million USD agreement. The agreement aims to modernize Assam’s Ferry transport service on the Brahmaputra river.

Highlights

There are over 361 ferry routes across Brahmaputra river in Assam. These routes act as a crucial means of transport to 1000s of commuters in both rural and urban areas of the valley.

The aim of Assam Inland Water Transport Project (AIWTP) is to help Assam improve its ferry infrastructure and strengthen institutions operating inland water transport. It also aims at introducing new and energy efficient vessels with least disturbance to nature. The project also includes cargo transport vessels in the route.

The inland water transport is the most sustainable water transport for Assam. This is mainly because it provides low-cost and low-carbon options.

The project will adopt “Working with Nature” principles to design new infrastructure.

Inland Waterways

Around 15 waterways are operating in Assam. They operate on rivers such as Barak, Beki, Lohit, Doyang, Kopili, Subansiri, Aai, Dihing, Dikihow, Puthimari, Gangadhar, Jinjiram and Tiwang. It is important to develop these water ways as they are connected to Bay of Bengal through the Brahmaputra and will help increase exports of locally produced goods of north east. The IBP (India-Bangladesh Protocol), National Waterway-2 that was recently launched in November 2019 makes this possible. Assam Inland Water Transport Development is the implementing authority of these routes.

 

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Container Cargo Movement first time in River Brahmaputra

A landmark container cargo consignment will sail on inland waterway from the Haldia Dock Complex, Kolkata to the Inland Waterways Authority of India terminal at Pandu in Guwahati. It is to begin on November 4, 2019. The main objective of the waterway is to improve connectivity to the North Eastern Region. The containers will carry edible oil, petrochemicals, beverages, etc.

About the voyage

  • The voyage will sail for a 12 to 15 days. It is 1425 km long.
  • It is expected to establish technical and commercial viability of the IWT (Inland Waterway Transport) route.
  • The water way is to be integrated with National Waterway-1 (river Ganga), NW-97 (Sunderbans), NW-2 (River Brahmaputra), Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route.

India-Bangladesh

  • The Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT) between India and Bangladesh will allow mutually beneficial arrangements for the use of waterways for movement of goods between the countries.
  • Two stretches of Bangladesh waterways Sirajganj-Daikawa and Ashuganj-Zakiganj are being developed on the IBP route at a total cost of Rs 305.84 crores. 80% of the project cost is being borne by India. These two routes will provide seamless navigation to and from North East India.

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