GUWAHATI: In a significant leap in Assam’s transportation infrastructure, Chief Minister of Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma, in the presence of Parimal Suklabaidya, state Minister of Transport, ceremonially flagged off 10 Catamaran vessels, 3 Tug boats, and a Search and Rescue vessel at Lachit Ghat on Thursday.
This strategic fleet expansion to the state’s Inland Water Transport fleet seeks to harness the vast potential of Assam’s abundant river systems. The introduction of these vessels is set to redefine inland water transport in the state, offering numerous benefits in terms of efficiency, safety, and environmental sustainability.
Rivers have always been a lifeline for Assam, and these modern vessels will not just revitalise the waterways but will also open doors to economic growth, job creation, and a greener future. Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma also emphasised the significance of this expansion in his address.
The introduction of the 10 cutting-edge Catamaran vessels worth INR 38.43 crore, with a carrying capacity of 100 passengers and 50 motorbikes, is set to redefine the way people and goods traverse across Assam’s waterways. These modern marine vessels of 31.20 metres in length and 10.20 metres in breadth are engineered with cutting-edge technology to provide 2 x 180 horsepower, offering unmatched stability with a maximum speed of 10 knots.
The Catamaran vessels will additionally offer a sustainable and efficient mode of transportation for both commuters and traders. The twin-hulled design ensures a comfortable and secure journey for passengers, transforming their travel experience on our inland waterways. The newly procured vessels from M/s Shoft Shipyard Pvt. Ltd., namely MV Ugratara, MV Umachal, MV Aswaklanta, MV Jahnavi, MV Sapteshwari, MV Bhagirathi, MV Alakananda, MV Sunbhrangi, MV Triveni, and MV Sankari, are scheduled to be commissioned in the strategic divisions of Assam IWT, with 6 units in Guwahati, 2 in Jorhat, and 2 in Dhubri.
Out of the 6 units of Catamarans to be commissioned in Guwahati, 2 units are strategically integrated into the upcoming Assam Tourism Cruise Circuit, to be eventually operationalized under the Assam Inland Waterways Company Limited (AIWCL). The Assam Tourism Cruise Circuit will encompass 4/5 religious and tourist places in and around the river Brahmaputra in Guwahati.
Three’state of the art’ powerful tugboats, worth INR 5.38 crores, will play a crucial role in enhancing the efficiency and safety of water transport. These tugboats, measuring 13.70 metres in length and 3.15 metres in breadth, will provide vital assistance to other vessels, ensuring smooth navigation even in adverse weather conditions. This will facilitate efficient berthing and unberthing of vessels, reducing turnaround times and enhancing operational effectiveness.
The SAR boat introduced here on Thursday will be used for Search & Rescue-cum-surveillance operations on the River Brahmaputra in Assam. With propulsion, power generation, lifesaving, and other engineering and electrical systems to carry out safe and reliable operation, the boat shall be capable of maintaining cruising speed up to a wave height of 0.5 metres. The SAR boat is equipped with navigational aids and communication equipment, like: High-resolution 24 NM radar, able to track 10 targets simultaneously, GPS/Echo Sounder, Magnetic Compass, VHF Radio (Marine), and Walkie-Talkies, stated a press release.