BENGALURU : National Highways and even expressways are known to us very well, but soon we will be having National Waterways. Many river courses in the State have been designated as waterways. As per the latest report, there are many projects taken up to improve these waterways. To begin with, the proposal is to improve the Ghataprabha River stretch from Almatti to Bagalkot (National Waterway 41) for Rs 12.20 crore. “Another project focuses on the development of the Kali River, at an investment of Rs 14.46 crore (National Waterway 52).”
For those travelling from Bengaluru and other places to Almatti to enjoy the backwaters, there are plans to develop a 15-kilometre waterway between the Almatti backwaters and the Herkal Bridge cum barrage under the Sagarmala project, with an estimated cost of Rs 12.2 crore. Officials are planning to build jetty stations at both Almatti and Herkal, which will facilitate transportation of boats and barges. Additionally, there is a proposal to allow seaplane landings at the Almatti backwaters.
An official said, “We are also working on the Gurupura River (National Waterway 43) with a budget of Rs 29.62 crore, and the Aghanashini River (Tadadadi to Aghanashini) in Uttara Kannada district with an allocated cost of Rs 20 crore.
To support these initiatives, we are constructing 11 floating jetties. To promote Inland Water Transport (IWT) in the country, the National Waterways Act of 2016 declared 111 waterways as National Waterways (NWs), effective from April 12, 2016,” explained a senior official.
“Based on the techno-economic feasibility assessment by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), 23 NWs have been found viable for cargo and passenger movement. Out of these, developmental activities have been initiated in 13 NWs. In Karnataka, the Kali River has been designated as National Waterway 52, spanning 53 kilometres from Kodasalli dam to Sadashivagad bridge.”
As per the latest reply in the Lok Sabha, the development of National Waterways aims to promote environment-friendly and efficient modes of inland water transport (IWT) that complement the existing rail and road transport systems, wherever feasible. It is important to note that the development of National Waterways is not linked to river-linking projects.
“The benefits of waterways extend beyond their economic advantages; they are also environmentally friendly,” highlighted the official.
“According to the Centre, the operating cost of a waterway is only 0.0048 litres per tonne-kilometre (TKM), compared to 0.0313 litres per TKM for roads and 0.0089 litres per TKM for railways. Similarly, the vehicle operating cost for waterways is Rs 0.843 per TKM, while for roads it is Rs 1.170 per TKM and for railways, it is Rs 1.009 per TKM. Moreover, waterway accidents are negligible, with road accidents at 0.620 per TKM and rail accidents at 0.0010 per TKM,” added an official.
National waterways of Karnataka
Bheema (NW 21 – 139 KM)
Ghataprabha (NW 41 – 112 KM)
Gurupur (NW 43 – 10 KM)
Kabini (NW 51 – 23 KM)
Kali (NW 52 – 53 KM)
Malaprabha (NW 67 – 94 KM)
Panchagangavali (Panchagangoli) (NW 76 – 23 KM)
Sharavati (NW 90 – 29 KM)
Tungabhadra (NW 104 – 232 KM) – Karnataka, Telangana & AP
Udyavara (NW 105 – 15 KM)