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90% of waterways development projects completed : Sonowal

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GUWAHATI : Union Minister of Shipping and Ports Shri Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday claimed that 90 per cent of projects undertaken for development of waterways in the last 10 years have been completed.

The Ports, Shipping and Waterways minister urged youngsters to take advantage of the potential provided by improved waterways, especially for cheaper transportation of goods and maritime-related career opportunities.

Speaking at a programme to mark the inauguration and foundation stone laying of projects of Inland Waterways Authority of India worth over ₹284 crore here, Sonowal said, “Timely and quality implementation are hallmark of good governance under Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi”.

“I am glad that 90 per cent of the projects undertaken in waterways development under Modi ji in last 10 years have been completed within his tenure itself. The remaining one-two projects will be completed by this year end”, the Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways added.

Sonowal inaugurated a passenger-cum-cargo terminal at Bogibeel, Inland Water Transport terminal at Sonamura and an upgraded terminal at Karimganj and Badarpur at the programme.

He also announced six tourist jetties at various locations on the Brahmaputra river, 19 passenger vessels for national waterways 2 and 16, and extension of jetty, integrated office and bank protection, besides laying the foundation of the Dhubri office complex.

Sonowal maintained that the potential of waterways is being ‘re-discovered’ under the Modi government, as he blamed the previous Congress regimes for failing to explore and utilise its potential.

He said old laws were amended and new legislations brought in by the Modi government to improve the waterways and increase their use for passenger as well as cargo traffic.

He pointed out that besides increasing use of waterways for cheaper transportation of goods, the increased maritime activities have also opened more avenues for employment in these sectors.

“Entrepreneurs and self-help groups can transport their produce through waterways. Ship building, maintenance, navigation, etc. are different avenues with employment opportunities. And we are providing skill training in these sectors.

“Only completed projects won’t lead to development. These have to be utilised to the fullest. Our youth have to be curious and eager to learn,” the Union minister added.

Sonowal said the current Central government is particularly focused on the development of the North East region and its ‘Act East Policy’ is a reflection of its commitment towards these eight states.

He said ₹5 lakh crore has been invested in the NE region under the BJP-led government at the Centre, and this focus on the region has boosted the confidence of the people to compete with the best.

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