Focused attention required for National Waterways

Accommodation Times News Services

By Murari Chaturvedi, Editor-in-Chief

WaterwaysThere are two main systems of waterways in the country. The first is the river and canal based and the second is the sea based. Depth in the navigational channels is the foremost requirement for making a waterway navigable and commercially viable to achieve adequate navigation standards. A substantial capital expenditure would be involved to cover strengthening of open river navigation techniques, river training and conservancy and structural improvement and hardware which includes, dredging, modern river information system. India is blessed by water bodies like big rivers canals and a vast sea coast covering almost three forth of the land mass. Maharashtra has 35 creeks and rivers spread across 720 km. long coast line. As per available information, approximately 50 million passengers in the coastal district of the state use inland water transport annually. The new passenger jetty and terminal at Mandwa in Dist. Raigad, has been commissioned and a floating pontoon for safe embarking and disembarking for passengers has been installed. National Waterway – 1, is of truly of national significance passing through four states serving the major cities Haldia, Howrah, Kolkata, Bhagalpur, Patna, Ghazipur, Varanasi and Allahabad, their industrial hinterland and several industries located along the Ganga basin. But N W – 1, is not fully developed. It requires substantial capital expenditure. It is estimated that the proposed project would require an expenditure of Rs. 4200 crore for developing N W – 1 from Haldia to Allahabad in fact the country is not making any dedicated efforts towards the construction of water transport facility. Ro Ro services was to start between Ferry Wharf and Mandva, by doing so load over Mumbai – Goa Highway will reduce. Cabinet has approved declaration of 101 waterways as National Waterways. A bill to this effect was introduced in parliament. But nothing concrete has been done in this regard. This lopsided attitude of the national government is the main cause which depriver the country for constructing and making the present facilities upto the mark for water transport. Even the existing services on waterways are being closed like the Ferry services from Mumbai to Goa. We must have a strong authority for national waterways, which can make time bound plans and see to it that it is implemented. The waterways are need of the hour and fortunately we have enough sea front and ample rivers waiting for development. Jal Marg Vikas must be our goal and the soonest we achieve it the better it will be.

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