The first consignment containing food and beverages are on the way to reach Prayagraj, in the mean time Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated India’s first multi-modal terminal on the Ganga River in his parliamentary constituency in Varanasi, and received the country’s first container cargo transported of inland waterways from Kolkata.
On Monday, Prime Minister Modi was accompanied by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Union Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari and BJP state president MahendraNath Pandey, who is also the MP of the neighbouring Chandauli Lok Sabha constituency.
The first consignment containing food and beverage had set sail from Kolkata in the last week of October.This is the first of the four multi-modal terminals being constructed on the National Waterway-1 (river Ganga) as part of the World Bank-aided Jal Marg Vikas project of the Inland Waterways Authority of India.
The total estimated cost of the project is Rs 5,369.18 crore, which will be equally shared between the Government of India and the World Bank. According to an official statement, the Centre’s Jal Marg Vikas Project aims at developing the stretch of the river between Varanasi and Haldia for navigation of large vessels weighing up to 1,500 tonnes to 2,000 tonnes.
Earlier, upon his arrival at Varanasi, the Prime Minister was given a detailed presentation of the waterways and watched a short film on the viability of the waterways between Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and Haldia in West Bengal.
The project entails construction of three multi-modal terminals (Varanasi, Sahibganj and Haldia), two inter-modal terminals, five roll-on-roll-off (Ro-Ro) terminal pairs, new navigation lock at Farakka in West Bengal, assured depth dredging, integrated vessel repair and maintenance facility, differential global positioning system (DGPS), river information system (RIS), river training.
Objective and Perspective of The Project—
Its objective is to promote inland waterways as a cheap and environment-friendly means of transportation, especially for cargo movement. The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is the project implementing agency.
Project at a glance:
- National Waterway-1 is an inland water transport route between Haldia in West Bengal to Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh
- The National Waterway-1 is aided with differential global positioning system (DGPS), river information system (RIS), river training and conservancy works.
- The Haldia-Varanasi stretch of the National Waterway-1 has been developed with technical assistance and investment support from the World Bank.
- The total estimated cost of the project is Rs 5,369.18 crore. The cost of the project was shared between the Indian government and the World Bank on 50:50 ratio.
- The project involves construction of three multi-modal terminals – at Varanasi, Sahibganj and Haldia, two inter-modal terminals and five roll-on-roll-off or Ro-Ro terminal pairs.
- It also has a new navigation lock at Farakka, assured depth dredging, integrated vessel repair and maintenance facility.
- Operation, management and further development of the terminal is proposed to be entrusted to an operator on public-private partnership model.
- The selection of the operator is at an advanced stage through an international competitive bidding. The process is expected to be complete by December end.
- The Varanasi inland port on Ganga river where PM Modi received the container vessel has been newly developed. It is the first multi-modal terminal on the Ganga.
- The terminal was developed as part of the Centre’s Jal Marg Vikas Project that aims to develop the stretch of the river between Varanasi and Haldia for navigation of large vessels weighing up to 1,500 to 2,000 tonnes.
- The objective of the project is to promote inland waterways as a cheap and environment-friendly means of transportation, especially for cargo movement.
- The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is the project implementing agency.
- The multi-modal terminal project and proposed freight village in Varanasi are expected to generate 500 direct employment and more than 2,000 indirect employment opportunities.
- The IWAI vessel, MV Rabindranath Tagore that PM Modi received in Varanasi was the first container movement on an inland waterway in India since Independence.
- The vessel transported 16 containers equivalent to 16 truckloads of food and snacks from Kolkata to Varanais. It will be on its return journey carrying fertilisers from IFFCO.