North East Development 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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Cabinet approves North East Natural Gas Pipeline Grid

On January 8, 2020, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the North East Gas Pipeline Grid. The pipeline is to be constructed for around 1,656 km.

Highlights

The gas pipeline grid is to be developed in eight states of the North East Region namely Manipur, Meghalaya, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Sikkim, Nagaland and Tripura. The project is a joint venture of 5 Public sector units namely ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited), IOCL (Indian Oil Corporation Limited), OIL (Oil India Limited), GAIL (Gas Authority of India Limited) and NRL (Numaligarh Refinery Limited). The Joint Venture has been named IGGL (Indra Dhanush Gas Grid Limited).

The Government of India has approved Rs 5,559 crores funding for the construction of the grid. The grid will connect major cities of the North East namely Guwahati, Itanagar, Kohima, Dimapur, Aizwal, Imphal, Shillong, Agartala, Silchar, Numaligarh and Gangtok.

About the Grid

The Grid will supply CNG to automobiles, cooking gas to households and fuel to industry. The Group Consortium will receive 60% of the funding for the project and the rest has to be raised via debts and equity. The project will be monitored by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. The Ministry will also release capital for the project in further stages.

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