New Delhi,02/12/2015:: To promote Inland Water Transport (IWT) in the country, Union Government so far has declared following 05 inland waterways as National Waterways (NWs)
i) Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly river system (Allahabad-Haldia-1620 km) as NW-1.
ii) River Brahmaputra (Dhubri-Sadiya – 891 km) as NW-2.
iii) West Coast Canal (Kottapuram-Kollam) along with Udyogmandal and Champakara Canals – (205 km) as NW-3.
iv) Kakinada- Puducherry canals along with Godavari and Krishna rivers (1078 km) –as NW-4.
v) East Coast Canal integrated with Brahmani river and Mahanadi delta rivers (588 km) as NW-5.
Out of these five NWs, first three waterways have already been developed substantially with fairway of required depth & width, navigational aids & terminal facilities for loading/unloading of cargo & ingress/ egress of the passengers and cargo & passenger vessels are moving on these NWs. A World Bank aided project for capacity augmentation of NW-1 has been sanctioned and it is under implementation.
Development of remaining two NWs was delayed because after declaration of these waterways as NWs, on advise of the then Planning Commission, efforts were made to develop the commercial viable stretches of these two NWs through Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode. However, since this was not found feasible, now the development process through Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) has been initiated and a few projects are under implementation.
Simultaneously, studies to assess if some stretches of National Waterway – 4&5 can be developed in PPP mode is in advance stage.
For liaison with State Governments for acquisition of land for widening of channel, setting up of terminal facilities, dumping the dredged material etc. and also for monitoring of various developmental activities, Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI)’s offices have been opened at Chennai & Vijayawada on NW- 4 and at Bhubaneswar on NW- 5.
For declaration of 101 more inland waterways as national waterways, a Bill was introduced in the Budget Session of the Parliament in 2015. The Bill was referred to the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism & Culture for examination. Based on the recommendations of the Committee and the State Governments, a note has been sent for declaring 106 more inland waterways as national waterways for consideration of the Cabinet. After obtaining the Cabinet approval, “Official Amendments” to the National Waterways Bill, 2015 will be moved.