River Ganga Current Affairs - 2020

PM inaugurates Multi-Modal Cargo Terminal at Sahibganj

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated India’s second Multi-Modal Cargo Terminal (built at Sahibganj) online from Ranchi, Jharkhand. He also laid the foundation of a secretariat building in the state capital (Ranchi) which will come up at an estimated cost of Rs.1238.92 crore.

About Multi-Modal Cargo Terminal at Sahibganj

This is the 2nd of three Multi Modal Terminals (MMTs) being constructed on river Ganga under Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP). In November 2018, PM Modi inaugurated first MMT at Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

The Rs.290 crore multi-modal cargo terminal has been built by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) on River Ganga at Sahibganj.

It will have a cargo storing capacity of 3 million tonne (MT) per year, a stockyard and parking and berthing space for two vessels.

Government has also planned an investment of Rs.376 crores for capacity enhancement in Phase-II to 54.8 lakh tonnes per annum. The development in Phase II will be entirely made by private concessionaire, under public-private partnership (PPP) mode.

Importance:

It will open up industries of Jharkhand and Bihar to global market and provide Indo-Nepal cargo connectivity through waterways route.

It will play an important role in transportation of domestic coal from local mines located in Rajmahal area (in Sahibganj district) to other thermal power plants located along National Waterway-1 (NW-1).

Cargo to be transported from terminal includes coal, stone chips, fertilisers, cement and sugar.

The convergence of Road-Rail-River Transport at Sahibganj through the new Multi Modal Terminals will connect this part of hinterland to Haldia (in Kolkata), to North-East states via Bangladesh by river-sea route and further to Bay of Bengal.

Government  forms new ‘Jal Shakti’ Ministry

The Centre has created a new Ministry called ‘Jal Shakti’ by merger of Ministries of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation along with Drinking Water and Sanitation. The move will bring all aspects of water management and regulation under one department.

About Jal Ministry

  • Background: In first Modi government (2014-2019) the project to clean Ganga was moved from Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to Ministry of Water Resources. Later, with a greater push and larger monetary allocation, the Namami Gange project was launched in June 2014. During the 17th Lok Sabha election campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to create an integrated ministry to deal with water related isuues.
  • Minister: The Jal ministry will be headed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Gajendra Singh Shekhawat while Ram Lal Kataria will be the minister of state.
  • Ambit:
    • As promised in BJP’s vision document in run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the ‘Nal se Jal’ scheme to provide piped drinking water to every household will be a component of government’s Jal Jivan Mission.
    • The ministry will roll out government’s ambitious plans to provide piped water connections to every household in India by 2024.
    • It will also address international and inter-states water disputes and the Namami Gange project which is the flagship initiative to clean the River Ganga, its tributaries and sub-tributaries.
    • The Jal Ministry’s priority will be to provide clean drinking water to everyone.