August 27, 2015
Inland waterways services proposed to be introduced along 12 Bengal rivers
A plan has been proposed to introduce inland waterways services along 12 rivers in West Bengal to reduce congestion on roads, the measure being fuel efficient, cost effective and eco-friendly.
Incidentally, the West Bengal Transport Dept had recently revamped the ferry service along the river Hooghly.
12 rivers that has been identified for national waterways, include the Allahabad-Haldia stretch of the Ganga Bhagirathi Hooghly river, Ajoy river, (96 km) Bakreswar Mayurakshi river (110 km) Damodar river (135 km), DVC canal, (130 km) Dwarekeswar river (113 km) Ichamati river (634 km) Jalangi river (131 km) Rupnarayan river (72 km), Subarnarekha river (314 km) and Sunderban Waterways (201 km). Adequate infrastructure for safe, convenient and sustained shipping operations through the waterways will soon be provided.
Transportation cost through waterways is 50 paise per km in comparison to Re.1 by rail and Rs.1.5 a km by roads. It has been proposed that dredging should be carried out in the rivers to make them navigable.
Inland waterways mode of transport has immense potential for domestic cargo transportation as well as for cruise, tourism and passenger traffic. Extent of development and prioritisation of inland waterways will be prepared after a feasibility study in this regard.