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Inland waterways projects get underway in North Eastern region

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NEW DELHI, July 21: Further strengthening the ‘Act East Policy’, the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has initiated several projects in the north-eastern region.

“IWAI is also working towards furthering the Act East Policy and the Government’s focus is on the development of the North Eastern Region (NER). While NW-2 (Brahmaputra) is already operational, development work on NW-16 (Barak) has also been initiated,” said a government official.

Altogether 5.6 lakh tonne of cargo was moved through IWT in NER during 2017-18. To enhance access to NER through waterways, work has been initiated for awarding dredging along the two identified routes of Sirajganj-Daikhawa and Ashuganj-Zakiganj.

Meanwhile, the Rs 169.59 crore Multi-Modal Terminal (MMT) being built at Varanasi by Inland Waterways Authority of India under Jal Marg Vikas project is set to be completed by November this year. This would be a major landmark for the project. Construction of the Rs.280. 90 crore MMT at Sahibganj is to be completed by May 2019, and the one at Haldia being constructed at a cost of Rs.517.36 crore is scheduled to be completed by December 2019. In addition to this, the Rs.359.20 crore state-of-the-art navigational lock at Farakka is to be completed by June 2019. Contract for maintenance dredging in the Farakka-Kahalgaon stretch of the river at a cost of Rs.150 crore was awarded in April 2018, and work on this has already started. Construction work of two Inter-Modal Terminals (IMT) on NW-1 at Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh and Kalughat in Bihar will be awarded this year.

Jal Marg Vikas is a Rs 5369 crore World Bank-aided project on National Waterway-1 (River Ganga), aimed at augmenting the navigational capacity of the Varanasi to Haldia stretch of the river, to enable commercial navigation of at least 1500-2000 tonne vessels. The project includes construction/setting up of multi-modal terminals at Varanasi, Sahibganj and Haldia, IMTs, navigational lock, Ro-Ro terminals, jetties, river information system, vessel repair and maintenance facilities, fairway development, channel marking, river training and conservancy work.