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Inland waterways transport is proving to be a game-changer: PM Modi

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NEW DELHI : The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi  has affirmed the importance of changing landscape of Inland Waterways in India. 

Speaking about an article written by Union Minister, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal regarding  inland waterways transport, the Prime Minister talked of inland waterways emerging as an environment friendly and cost-effective mode of transportation. 

He posted on X, “Union Minister, Shri @sarbanandsonwal, narrates how post 2014, inland waterways transport is proving to be a game-changer as well as emerging as an environment friendly and cost-effective mode of transportation.”

In his article, the minister wrote that in January, Modi had flagged off the world’s longest river cruise from Varanasi to Dibrugarh — MV Ganga Vilas, unleashing the potential of India’s national waterways.

“The 3,200-km, 51-day cruise allows tourists to experience our heritage, culture, art, and urban landscape,” he wrote.

India has an extensive network of inland waterways in the form of rivers, canals, backwaters and creeks.  Freight transportation by waterways has been highly underutilised in the country as compared to developed countries.

India’s hinterland connectivity is mainly based on road and rail with domestic waterways— both coastal shipping and inland waterways—playing a limited role. Waterways are found to be cost effective as well as an environmentally friendly means of transporting freight.

The Inland Water Transport (IWT) sector has the potential to supplement the over-burdened railways and congested roadways in the country. In addition to cargo movement, the IWT sector also provides a convenient function in related activities such as carriage of vehicles {on Roll-on-Roll-off (Ro-Ro) mode of cross ferry} and tourism.

The National Waterways Act, 2016 passed by the Modi government has declared 111 inland waterways as ‘National Waterways’ (NWs) to promote shipping and navigation on them. The total length of NWs is 20,275 km spread across 24 States in the country.

The state-of-the-art container terminal at Tuna-Tekra in Gujarat will cater to future trade demand from Northern, Western and Central India, connecting these regions to global markets.

The project will see the construction of a mega-container terminal at Tuna-Tekra near the existing Deendayal Port, at a cost of Rs 4,243.64 crores through a Public Private Partnership (PPP).

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