More than 50000 employment opportunities created in Bihar through inland waterways development

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Huge investment and employment opportunities beckon Bihar through inland waterways development projects under National Waterways (NW)-1, Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) Chairman Amitabh Verma said on Wednesday

Addressing reporters after the Project Oversight Committee (POC) meeting here at Gaighat on the banks of Ganga, he said Bihar stands to gain significantly in terms of investment and employment opportunities under NW-1 development projects. 

“The overall investment in development of inland waterways projects in Bihar will generate direct and indirect employment to more than 50,000 persons in works like surveying, dredging, bandalling, administration, safety and security, cargo handling, bunkering, vessel repair, terminal operation and management, ferry and Ro-Ro operations and management,” Verma said. 

He said all four states – Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal – through which the National Waterways -1 (1,620 km from Varanasi to Haldia) runs, have assured their support in implementing this project of national significance. 

“As it is, the Inland Waterways development project has envisaged large investment in Bihar for construction of state-of-the-art terminals at Kalughat and Gaighat, ferry services, ship repair facilities, roll-on roll-off (RO-RO) services and dredging opportunities”, he said.

Once the Kalughat terminal is developed, the transportation of cargo from Kolkata to Nepal through waterway (via Kalughat terminal) would be cheaper compared to transportation by Railways and road by 26 per cent and 13 per cent respectively when return cargo is available, Verma said. 

The economic analysis for loan appraisal by the World Bank has concluded that the project would lead to extensive economic and social development of the hinterland along the banks of river Ganga in Bihar. 

The POC meeting was attended by top officials of IWAI. Besides Verma, Bihar Transport Commissioner R K Mishra, West Bengal’s Chief Trade and Transport Commissioner Anup Chattopadhayay, Jharkhand Joint Transport Commissioner Anjani Kumar Dubey and World Bank Lead Transport Specialist Arnab Bandyopadhyay. 

The Centre is developing NW-1 under the Jal Marg Vikas Project with assistance from World Bank at an estimated cost of Rs 4,200 crore. 

The project would enable commercial navigation of vessels with capacity of 1,500 tons – 2,000 tons. 

Phase-I of the project covers the Haldia-Varanasi stretch. It includes development of fairway, multi-modal terminals at Varanasi, Haldia and Sahibganj, strengthening of river navigation system, conservancy works, modern river information system, digital global positioning system, night navigation facilities, modern methods of channel marking and construction of a new state-of-art navigational lock at Farakka. 

NW-1 is a waterway of national significance passing through Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, potentially serving the major cities of Haldia, Howrah, Kolkata, Bhagalpur, Patna, Ghazipur, Varanasi, Allahabad and their industrial hinterlands including several industries located along the Ganga basin. 

In view of the saturation of the rail and road corridors in this region, the development of NW-1 would result in a viable economical, efficient and eco-friendly mode of transportation of huge quantities of cargo which will help in economic development of the region, besides creating jobs for the local people in these states.

Source: ET

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